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\ v/ II I W © W 'li ' M E IIS D V E IS JUMMA. 

The length, of the Jumnais 680 miles : on it are situated, the cities of Delhi ana Agra., 
r he principal seats of the present insurrection . 

rnr I 


not wonderful that the memory of the 
man whose well-digested plans " raised 
the despised Hindoos to sovereignty, and 
brought about their own accomplishment, 
when the hand that had framed them 
was low in the dust," should be grate- 
fully remembered by his countrymen; but 
it affords melancholy evidence of the dark- 
ness of heathenism to be told, that the 
murder of Afzool Khan is spoken of as a 
" commendable exploit," and its perpetrator 
" as an incarnation of the Deity setting an 
example of wisdom, fortitude, and piety."* 

Impartial judges admit that Sevajee pos- 
sessed qualities which, in an unenlightened 
Hindoo, may be termed admirable. Pre- 
pared for every emergency, peril could not 
daunt, nor success intoxicate him. Frugal 
even to parsimony in his habits, courteous and 
endearing in manner though passionate in 
disposition, he continued to the last to move 
freely about among the people, inspiring 
them with his own spirit of determined op- 
position to the Mohammedans. Intent on 
following every turn and winding of Aurung- 
zebe's snake-like policy, he also practised 
treacherous wiles ; but the use of these un- 
worthy weapons did not detract from his 
personal courage. To have seen him charge, 
was the favourite boast of the troops en- 
gaged in the Deccani wars ; and his famous 
sword (a Genoa blade of the finest temper, 
named after his tutelary goddess, Bhavani) 
was preserved and regarded with nothing 
short of idolatrous veneration. 

On the death of Sevajee, one of his sur- 
viving widows burned herself with his body. 
The other, Soyera Bye, endeavoured to place 
her son, Rajah Ram, a boy of ten years old, 
on the throne, to the exclusion of Sumbajee, 
whose mother had died during his infancy. 
The attempt failed, and Sumbajee was pro- 
claimed king. He caused Soyera Bye to 
be put to a painful and lingering death ; 
imprisoned her son; threw the leading 
Brahmin ministers into irons; and slew 
such of his other enemies as were not pro- 
tected by the sanctity of their caste. Prince 

* History of the Mahrattas, vol. i., p. 297. The 
above account of Sevajee is almost exclusively de- 
rived from the able and interesting narrative of 
Grant Duff, whose labour of love has rendered him 
as eminently the historian of the Mahrattas, as Colo- 
nel Tod of the Rajpoots. 

f Dileer Khan died in this year. He was, perhaps, 
the ablest officer in the service of Aurungzebe, whose 
battles he fought for six-and-twenty years ; but he, 
like Jey Sing and Jeswunt Sing, found, in the sus- 
picion and neglect of his crafty master, fit punish- 

Akber reached the Deccan in June, 1681, 
and was honourably received by Sumbajee, 
who acknowledged him as emperor, but 
showed no intention of supporting his pre- 
tensions; devoting such time as he could 
spare from drinking and debauchery to mak- 
ing war upon the Abyssinians of Jinjeera 
and the Portuguese. The vast treasure 
accumulated by his father was soon dis- 
sipated; the people were harassed by op- 
pressive taxes ; and the troops, being left 
in arrears of pay, began to appropriate the 
plunder taken on expeditions for their own 
use, and to degenerate from comparatively 
regular bands into hordes of rapacious and 
destructive freebooters. 

Such was the state of things when Au- 
rungzebe, in 1683> arrived at the head of the 
whole force of the empire. Sumbajee awoke 
from his stupor ; and ably seconded by his 
father's trained troops, cut off the greater 
part of the army sent under Prince Mau- 
zim to overrun the Concan, in 1684 ;f and, 
in the following year, retaliated this inva- 
sion by taking advantage of the march of i 
the emperor against Ahmednuggur, to' ; 
sack and burn the great city of Boorhan- 
poor. In 1685, the Moguls being again i I 
drawn off to the south, Sumbajee made 
another bold inroad into the territory in 
their rear, and plundered Baroach with the 1 
adjacent part of Guzerat. About this time j 
he entered into a defensive alliance with ! 
the king of Golconda, which Aurungzebe 
resenting, sent an army against that stale* 
then weakened by internal dissension. Its I 
sovereign, Abool Hussun, though indolent 
and voluptuous, was popular, and his go- 
vernment and finances were ably managed 
by Maduna Punt, an active and upright 
Brahmin, in whom he placed full con- I 
fidence, thereby exciting the discontent of 
the Mussulmans, especially ©f Ibrahim, 
Khan, the commander-in-chief, who, on 
the approach of the imperial force, under 
Prince Mauzim, deserted to him with the 
greater part of the army. The obnoxious, 
minister was murdered/ the king fled ta 

ment for treachery to the brave and unfortunate. 
Dara. The emperor confiscated the property of the- 
deceased, and being disappointed in its value, vainly 
strove to extort, by torture, from his secretary, a 
confession of the manner in which the supposed sur- 
plus had been employed. The relatives of Dileer 
Khan were not, however, more unfortunate than 
those of Khan Jehan Bahadur, foster-brother to the 
emperor, who visited his death-bed, but appropriated 
his property, giving the usual order to seek for hid-, 
den deposits, and recover all out-standing debts. 


the hill-fort of Golconda; and Hyderabad 
was captured and plundered for three days 
by the Mogul soldiery, notwithstanding the 
efforts of the prince to check this breach of 
discipline, which his suspicious father attri- 
buted to his connivance, as a means of em- 
bezzlement for ambitious purposes. 

By a large pecuniary payment, Abool 
Hussun purchased a brief respite from 
Aurungzebe, who then moved in person 
against Beejapoor. The army of this mo- 
narchy had been so reduced by prolonged 
warfare, that the city, although surrounded 
by walls six miles in circumference, was 
soon completely invested. The Patan gar- 
rison seemed determined to perish sword in 
hand, and were therefore suffered to capitu- 
late after a practicable breach had been 
made, through which Aurungzebe entered 
the place on a portable throne. The state 
was extinguished, a.d. 1686; and Beeja- 
poor, after attaining a grandeur quite dis- 
proportioned to the extent of the kingdom 
of which it formed the capital, sunk rapidly 
into the deserted condition in which it now 
stands. The young king, after three years' 
close imprisonment in the Mogul camp, 
perished suddenly, it is said by violence, 
the fears of his imperial gaoler having been 
raised by a popular commotion in his favour. 

Golconda, the last independent Moham- 
medan state, was next destroyed, after a 
duration of 175 years. Abool Hussun strove 
by costly gifts to deprecate the ambition 
of Aurungzebe, who, while receiving these 
offerings, was secretly occupied in in- 
trigues with the ministers and troops of the 
unhappy king; and at length, his plans 
being matured, denounced him as a pro- 
tector of infidels, and laid siege to Gol- 
conda. Roused by this treachery, Abool 
Hussun, though deserted on all sides, de- 
fended the fort for seven months, but was 
eventually betrayed into the hands of his 
merciless foe, by whom he was sent to end 
his days in the fortress of Doulatabad. 
His fate and treatment awakened the com- 
passion of Prince Mauzim, whose media- 
tion he solicited; and the prince, touched 
by the dignity and resignation with which 
the monarch bore his misfortunes, or rather 
injuries, made an earnest appeal in his 
favour. The result was his own imprison- 

* In all these countries Aurungzebe acquired little 
more than a military occupation. " The districts were 
I farmed to the Desmookhs and other zemindars, and 
were governed by military leaders, who received 
twenty-five per cent, for the expense of collecting ; 

ment for nearly seven years, after which he 
was released and sent as governor to Cabool. 
All the territories which had been acquired 
by Beejapoor and Golconda were annexed 
to the empire, as well as many of Sevajee's 
conquests; Venkajee was deprived of the 
Mysore jaghire, and confined to Tanjore; 
and Sumbajee seemed to have sunk into 
a state of inertia, and become heedless of 
passing events. Prince Akber, dreading to 
fall into his father's hands, fled to Persia, 
where he remained till his death, about 
eighteen years afterwards. 

Aurungzebe had now reached the culmi- 
nating point of success; neither humanity 
nor policy had stayed his covetous grasp: 
he stood alone, the sole Moslem ruler in 
India — the despotic master of an unwieldy 
empire, over which the seeds of disorgani- 
sation and dissolution were sown broadcast. 
In Hindoostan, the finest provinces were, for 
the most part, entrusted to the care of in- 
competent and needy governors, chosen 
purposely from the lower ranks of the no- 
bility. These men oppressed the people 
and neglected the troops — evils which 
Aurungzebe preferred to the risk of being 
supplanted by more able and influential 
officers. His policy in the Deccan was 
equally selfish and short-sighted. In the 
governments of Beejapoor and Golconda, he 
might have found valuable auxiliaries in 
keeping under the power of the Mahrattas ; 
but, by their destruction, he threw down 
the chief barrier to lawless incursions, set- 
ting aside constituted authorities without 
supplying any efficient substitute.* Of the 
disbanded armies, the Patans and foreign 
mercenaries probably obtained service under 
the emperor; the remainder joined Sumba- 
jee, or plundered on their own account; and 
amid the general anarchy and distress, the 
new-born feeling of religious opposition 
rapidly gained ground. Notwithstanding 
the inefficiency of their rajah, the Mah- 
ratta chiefs exerted themselves individually 
against the invader, and their energies were 
rather stimulated than enfeebled by the un- 
expected capture of Sumbajee, with his mi- 
nister and favourite companion, a Brahmin 
named Kaloosha, who were surprised by a 
body of Moguls during a revel at a favourite 
pleasure-house in the Concan. It was sug- 

and sent up the balance, after paying their troops, to 
the emperor ; unless, as often happened, assignments 
were made for a period of years on fixed districts for 
the payment of other chiefs." — (Elphinstone's His- 
tory of India, vol. ii., p. 522.) 


gested, that Sumbajee might be used as a 
tool to obtain possession of the Mahratta 
strongholds ; and with this view, he was 
offered life on condition of becoming a 
Mussulman. But misfortune had awakened 
in him a sense of degradation, and the only 
reply was a sarcastic message to Aurungzebe, 
and an invective on the False Prophet, for 
which offence a cruel punishment was de- 
creed. His eyes were destroyed by a red- 
hot iron, his tongue cut out, and he was at 
last beheaded in the camp bazaar, together 
with Kaloosha, a.d. 1689. 

Sumbajee had neither deserved nor ob- 
tained the confidence of his subjects; but 
they were deeply mortified by his ignominious 
fate. The chiefs assembled at Raighur, 
acknowledged the infant son of the deceased 
as his successor, and nominated his uncle, 
Rajah Ram, regent. Raighur was invested 
by a Mogul force, and taken in 1690, after 
a siege of several months, through the 
treachery of a Mawulee leader. The young 
rajah and his mother fell into the hands of 
Aurungzebe, who treated them with un- 
usual kindness.* Rajah Ram remaining at 
liberty, proceeded to the distant fortress of 
Jinjee, in the Carnatic, and assumed the 
sovereignty. He did not attempt more than 
the general direction of affairs, sending two 
able leaders to create a diversion in his own 
country, and leaving independent com- 
manders to carry on desultory operations 
against the Moguls, with whom a tedious 
and harassing struggle commenced, in which 
the advantage lay on the side of the ap- 
parently weaker party. 

Yet Aurungzebe was indefatigable. Al- 
though far advanced in years, he superin- 
tended every hostile operation, and besieged 
in person the chief places.f His immense 
armies were marshalled forth in splendid 
array. The nobles went to battle in quilted 
cotton tunics, covered with chain or plate 
armour, and rode on chargers, whose huge 

* Begum Sahib, the emperor's daughter, evinced 
unremitting kindness to both mother and child 
during their long captivity. The boy, being much 
with her, attracted the notice of Aurungzebe, who 
I jestingly applied to him the nick-name of Sahoo or 
i Shao, a word signifying the opposite of thief, robber, 
and similar terms, by which he habitually designated 
Sumbajee and Sevajee. — (Duff's Mahrattas, vol. i.) 

+ The traveller, Gernelli Carreri, who saw Aurung- 
zebe at Beejapoor, in 1695, describes him as slender 
and of low stature, with a smiling aspect, bright 
eyes, a long nose, and a beard whose silvery white- 
ness contrasted with an olive-coloured skin. His 
I dress was of plain white muslin, with one large 
I emerald in the turban. He stood amid his omrahs 

saddles, housings of cloth or velvet, satin 
streamers, bells, chains, and other ornaments 
of gold and silver, with the frequent ad- 
dition of pairs of the bushy ox-tails of Tibet 
hanging down on either side, were better 
adapted for a triumphal procession, than 
for warfare with mountaineers in their own 
country. The common soldiers imitated 
their superiors in their cumbersome attire, 
and likewise in sloth and effeminacy : the 
result was a total relaxation of discipline. 
The Mahrattas, on the contrary, were 
mounted on horses, small, strong, and active 
as themselves, with a pad for a saddle, and 
a black blanket folded over it for nightly 
covering during their expeditions, when 
each man slept on the ground, with his 
spear stuck by him, and his bridle tied to 
his arm, ready for any emergency. A led 
horse, with bags to contain the expected 
plunder, formed the remainder of their 
camp equipage. Their common food was a 
cake of millet, with perhaps an onion ; their 
dress, a small turban, a fold of which was 
frequently passed under the chin, J a quilted 
cotton tunic, tight drawers descending to 
the knee, and a scarf or sash rolled round 
the waist. Some carried a sword and shield; 
a certain proportion were armed with match- 
locks, or bow and arrows ; but the prevailing" 
weapon was a bamboo spear, thirteen or 
fourteen feet long, which they wielded with 
extraordinary skill. Thus armed and habited, 
they wisely adhered to the desultory war- 
fare which could alone be successfully 
waged against the heavily- attired legions of 
the Mogul. § Then, as now, their only 
name for a victory was, " to plunder the 
enemy," this being, in their eyes, the chief 
object as well as sole irrefragable evidence 
and measure of conquest. 

Fort after fort was captured by the im- 
perial army; but the Mahrattas meanwhile 
issued from their lurking-places and over- 
spread the newly-acquired territories, as 

leaning on a staff or crozier (like those used by the 
fakeers) ; received petitions, read them without spec- 
tacles, and endorsed them with his own hand. In 
youth, says Manouclii, he was pale even to ghastliness. 

\ The Mahratta description of a very fierce-look- 
ing person, includes a turban tied beneath the 
chin, and mustachios "as thick as my arm." Their 
national flag, swallow-tailed and of a deep orange 
colour, is emblematic of the followers of Mahdeo. 

§ The Mawulees weie famous for sword-in-hand 
combat; the Hetkurees (Coucan mountaineers) 
used a species of firelock, and excelled as marks- 
men : both parties could, with ease, scale rocks and 
mount precipices, which the Moguls would have 
found certain destruction in attempting. 


well as Berar, Candeish, and Malwa. De- 
tachments were sent against them in various 
directions, but to little avail; for, on per- 
ceiving their approach, the wily mountai- 
neers dispersed at once, without attempting to 
stand a charge ; and after leading the Moguls 
a weary, and generally fruitless chase, were 
themselves ready to follow the retreating 
track of their disheartened pursuers, and 
take advantage of any opening or confusion 
in the ranks, occasioned by accident or 
exhaustion. Fighting such foes was like 
beating the air, and even worse ; for while 
their number and power were rapidly in- 
creasing by the alliance of the zemindars 
of the countries which they overran, the 
troops of Aurungzebe, thinned by long and 
sanguinary sieges, required frequent recruit- 
ment from Hindoostan, whence also supplies 
of money had to be drawn. 

Rajah Ram died a.d. 1700, and was suc- 
ceeded by his infant son, Sivajee, under the 
regency of Tara Bye, mother of the young 
rajah. This change had little effect on the 
war. Aurungzebe went on taking forts, 
until, by the close of the next five years, all 
the principal Mahratta strongholds had 
fallen before him ; but then the tide turned, 
and the rapidly-multiplying foe themselves 
became besiegers, and regained many for- 
tresses, at the same time intercepting several 
convoys, and thus depriving the emperor of 
the means of paying his army.* No writer 
has delineated the condition of the agricul- 
tural population of the Deccan ; but their 
sufferings from these prolonged and deso- 
lating wars must have been frightful. From 
them the circle of distress spread gradually 
but surely, until scarcity of food began to be 
felt even in the imperial camp, and was aggra- 
vated by the devastating effects of heavy 
rains. On one occasion, a sudden flood of 
the Beema inundated the imperial canton- 
ment during the night, and caused the de- 
struction of 12,000 persons, with horses, 
cattle, and stores beyond calculation. 

The contempt with which the Moguls 
once regarded the Mahrattas had long given 
place to dread; while the Mahrattas, on 
their part, began to see the emptiness of 
the pomp which surrounded the Great 
Mogul, and mocked the Mussulmans, by 
pretending to ejaculate devout aspirations 
for the prolonged life of their best patron, 

* Among the many letters extant, written by Au- 
rungzebe, are several addressed to Zuliikar Khan, 
desiring him to search for hidden treasures, and 
hunt out any that may have fallen into the hands 

Aurungzebe. The news from Hindoostan 
was of an increasingly-disheartening cha- 
racter; the Rajpoots were, for the most part, 
in open hostility, and their example had been 
followed by the Jats (a Hindoo people of 
the Soodra class), near Agra : against these, 
as also against a body of Sikhs at Muttra, 
it had been necessary to send a force under 
a prince of the blood. Zulfikar Khan, the 
chief Mogul general, being treated with 
irritating distrust by his sovereign, seems to 
have grown dilatory and indifferent, if, in- 
deed, the dark clouds which were gathering 
over the political horizon did not induce 
him, like other nobles, designedly to tem- 
porize with the foe. The princes — now fa- 
voured, now disgraced — turned pale when 
summoned to the presence of their father ;f 
while he, remembering the fate of Shah 
Jehan, trembled yet more at the semblance 
of overstrained humility than at open insu- 

At length overtures of peace were made 
to the Mahrattas, and Aurungzebe was 
brought to consent to the liberation of 
Shao, the son of Sumbajee, and to the pay- 
ment of ten per cent, of the whole revenues 
of the six soubahs of the Deccan (as Sur- 
deshmooki), on condition of the maintenance 
of a body of horse to keep order; but the 
negotiation was broken off by the exorbi- 
tant demands and overbearing conduct of 
the Mahrattas. Disgusted and unhappy, 
with dispirited troops and exhausted cattle, 
the aged emperor retreated from Beejapoor 
to Ahmednuggur, harassed all the way by 
the enemy, who succeeded in dispersing 
and destroying a portion of the grand army; 
and, had they chosen to hazard a general 
attack, would probably have captured the 
person of their inveterate foe. That no 
such attempt was made is a subject of fer- 
vent exultation with Mussulman writers. 
Aurungzebe gained Ahmednugger in safety; 
and, when pitching his camp on the same 
spot whence it had marched in so much 
pomp and power twenty years before, he 
sorrowfully remarked, that his campaigns 
were ended — his last earthly journey com- 
pleted. He had now entered the fiftieth 
year of his reign, and the eighty-ninth of his 
age ; but the extreme temperance and regu- 
larity which characterised his physical ex- 
istence, had preserved his faculties in an 

of individuals, that means may be afforded to 
silence " the infernal foot-soldiers," who were croak- 
ing like the tenants of an invaded rookery. 

f Khafi Khan. — ( Vide Elphinstone, vol. ii. p. 544.) 



extraordinary degree of perfection.* Yet to 
him, freedom from the imbecility frequently 
attendant on extreme age was rather a 
curse than a blessing. The few sands still 
remaining in his measure of life would, he 
feared, be rudely shaken by the ambition of 
his heirs, and, to avoid this danger, he made 
a last exertion of power by sending away 
his favourite son, Kaumbuksh, to Beejapoor, 
and preventing Mauzim (then in Cabool) or 
Azim (in Guzerat) from coming to Ahmed- 
nuggur. His own children could not be 
trusted to minister to their aged father, 
although, in this awful period, he seems to 
have had a newly-awakened yearning for 
human sympathy. Death was fast ap- 
proaching ; and what provision had he made 
for the stability of the empire, the welfare 
of the people, the salvation of his own soul ? 
After his decease, which took place in Feb- 
ruary, 1707, a willf was found beneath his 
pillow, decreeing the division of the empire 
among his sons : but he probably foresaw 
the little attention which would be paid to 
it, and might reasonably have adopted the 
saying of another crooked politician, "Apres 

* Khari Khan says, " none of his five senses were 
at all impaired, except his hearing in a small degree ; 
but not so that others could perceive it." Aurung- 
zebe possessed, in perfection, what Lytton Bulwer, 
following a French proverb, calls the twin secrets for 
wearing well — " a bad heart and a good digestion." 

•f A previous will contained directions for his 
funeral, the expense of which was to be defrayed 
by a sum, equal to ten shillings, saved from the price 
of caps which he had made and sold : 805 rupees, 
gained by copying the Koran, were to be distributed 
among the poor. (Elphinstone's India,\o\. ii., p. 551.) 

X These remarkable and well-authenticated letters 
contain many characteristic and interesting pas- 
sages: for instance, "the camp and followers, help- 
less and alarmed, are like myself —full of affliction, 
restless as the quicksilver. The complaints of the 
unpaid troops are as before. * * * The fever 
has left me; but nothing of me remains but skin 
and bone. My back is bent with weakness ; my 
feet have lost the power of motion. * * * 
Begum [his daughter] appears afflicted ; but God is 
the only judge of hearts." To Kaumbuksh he says, 
" Odiporee, your mother, was a partner in my ill- 
ness, and wishes to accompany me in death ; but 
everything has its appointed time."— (Scott's History 
of the Deccan, vol. i., pp. 8 and 9.) According to 
Tod, this lady was a princess, not of Oudipoor, but 
of Kishenghur, a minor division of Joudpoor. 

§ As in the Deccan, so also throughout Hindoos- 
tan, we can only form an idea of the condition of the 
mass of the people by an incidental remark, scattered 
here and there, amid many weary pages filled with 
details of invasion and slaughter, pomp and intrigue. 
The Mussulman writers were usually pensioners of 
the monarch, whose deeds they chronicled; the Hin- 
doo annalists were the bards of the leading families, 
of which they formed important and cherished mem- 
bers. Neither the one nor the other could be ex- 

moi le deluge" His subjects — at least the 
Mussulman portion — he commends to the 
care of his sons, in his farewell letters, as a 
charge committed to them by God himself ; 
and then proceeds to give vent, in discon- 
nected sentences, to the terrible apprehen- 
sions before which his spirit shrank in dis- 
may. " Wherever I look," writes the dying 
emperor, " I see nothing but the Deity. I 
know nothing of myself — what I am — and 
for what I am destined. The instant which 
passed in power hath left only sorrow be- 
hind it. I have not been the guardian and 
protector of the empire," he adds, in the same 
tone of remorse rather than repentance. 
* * * "I have committed many crimes ; and 
know not with what punishments I may be 
seized. The agonies of death come upon me 
fast. Farewell ! farewell ! farewell \"% 

It has been shown that, during the latter 
part of the reign of Aurungzebe, the empire 
was manifestly losing its coherent power. 
After his death, strife, luxury, and corrup- 
tion in the court ; disorganization in the 
camp, and discontent among the people ;§ 

pected to rise above the class of mere annalists. 
To have given a true and lively picture of the actual 
state of the Indian population under Moslem rule, 
would have tasked to the utmost the intellect of a 
philosopher, the zeal of a philanthropist, the courage 
of a martyr. And to whom should an historian, 
thus richly gifted, have addressed himself? Would 
either the degraded Hindoo or the sensual Moham- 
medan have cared to trace " the practical operation 
of a despotic government, and rigorous and san- 
guinary laws, or the effect, upon the great body of 
the nation, of these injurious influences and agen- 
cies." — (Preface to Elliot's Bibliographical Index of 
Historians of Mohammedan India.) No ; for to 
Christianity alone belongs the high prerogative of 
teaching men to appreciate justly their rights, duties, 
and responsibilities. Even with her teaching, the 
lesson is one which nations are slow to learn. Con- 
cerning the reign of Aurungzebe, we know less than 
of many of his predecessors ; because he not only 
left no autobiography behind him, but even, for a 
considerable number of years, forbade the. ordinary 
chronicling of events. Of the wretchedness pre- 
vailing among the people, and the indignation with 
which the imposition of the jezia was generally re- 
garded, a forcible representation is given in a letter, 
addressed by Raj Singof Oudipoor (wrongly attributed 
by Orme to Jeswunt Sing of Marwar) to Aurungzebe, 
in which he reminds him of the prosperity atten- 
dant on the mild conduct of Akber, Jehangeer, and 
Shah Jehan towards the Hindoos, and points out 
the opposite results of the present harsh measures, 
in the alienation of much territory, and the devasta- 
tion and rapine which universally prevailed. " Your 
subjects," he says, " are trampled under foot, and 
every province of your empire is impoverished; de- 
population spreads, and difficulties accumulate. * * * 
The soldiery are murmuring; the merchants com- 
plaining ; the Mohammedans discontented ; the Hin- 


fostered by the imposition of the jezia and 1 
excessive imposts upon land, grew apace, and 
the power of the great Moguls crumbled into i 
ruins, its decay being hastened by the rapid 
increase of the Mahratta nation; the struggles 
of the Rajpoots for independence ; the irrup- 
tion of the Sikhs ; and the desolating inva- 
sion of the Persian monarch, Nadir Shah. 
The career of the successors of Aurungzebe 
need be but briefly narrated, since their 
reigns are not of sufficient interest to occupy 
space which can be ill-spared from more 
important matters ; beside which, the leading 
events of the eighteenth century will again 
come into notice in sketching the marvellous 
rise of the English from humble traders to 
lords paramount of India. 

Bahadur Shah* — Prince Mauzim, the 
rightful heir to the throne, on receiving 
tidings of his father's decease, assumed the 
crown at Cabool with the title of Bahadur 
Shah, and offered to confirm to his brothers 
the territorial possessions bequeathed to them 
by Aurungzebe: viz., to Azim — Agra, with all 
the country to the south and south-west ; to 
Kaumbuksh — Beejapoor and Golconda. The 
generous and upright character of Bahadur 
Shah warranted belief in his good faith ; but 
Azim, who, on the death of the emperor, had 
hastened to the camp, from which he was 
not far distant, and caused himself to be 
proclaimed sovereign of the whole empire, 
could not be prevailed upon to retract this 
unwarrantable pretension. 

Despite the exhausted state of the king- 
dom, very large armies were assembled on 
both sides, and a sanguinary contest took 
place to the south of Agra, in which Prince 
Azim and his two grown-up sons were slain. 
The third, a child, was taken by the soldier 
who decapitated his father, as he lay sense- 
less in his howdah, and carried into the 
presence* of the emperor, together with the 
bloody trophy of victory, the head of Azim. 
Bahadur Shah burst into tears, and strove 

doos destitute ; and multitudes of people, wretched 
even to the want of their nightly meal, are beating 
their heads throughout the day in want and destitu- 
tion. How can the dignity of the sovereign be pre- 
served who employs his power in exacting tribute 
from a people thus miserably reduced?" — (Orme's 
Historical Fragments of the Mogul Empire, p. 252.) 
Aurungzebe's persecution of his Hindoo subjects 
consisted in pecuniary exactions and systematic dis- 
couragement: they were excluded from office, their 
fairs and festivals forbidden, and even some of their 
temples destroyed; but bodily suffering was rarely, if 
ever, inflicted from mere bigotry; and capital punish- 
ments, for any offence whatever, were infrequent. 

to pacify the weeping boy with caresses, 
promising to treat him as one of his own 
children, a pledge he faithfully redeemed, in 
spite of the jealous insinuations of his own 
sons. In this important battle the valour 
and ability of Monaim Khan, who had been 
Bahadur Shah's chief officer in Cabool, were 
very conspicuous. Concealing his own dan- 
gerous and painful wounds, he remained on 
the field till late at night to restore order 
and prevent plunder; and then, perfectly 
exhausted, was lifted from his elephant, and 
carried into the presence of the emperor, by 
whom he was appointed vizier. Zulfikar 
Khan and his father, Assud Khan, who had 
at first taken part with Prince Azim, quitted 
his camp, disgusted by his arrogance, before 
the late engagement, of which they had 
remained spectators. On presenting them- 
selves with fettered hands before the emperor, 
they were gladly welcomed, and appointed to 
high positions. 

Prince Kaumbuksh, a vain and flighty young 
man, persisted in refusing to acknowledge the 
supremacy of his elder brother, who, after 
repeated attempts at negotiation, which were 
rejected with scorn and defiance, marched 
against him to the Deccan, and was again 
victor in a battle near Hyderabad. Kaum- 
buksh died of his wounds the same day ; his 
children fell into the hands of their uncle, 
by whom they were treated as kindly as 
their orphan cousin.f The next important 
event was a truce with the Mahrattas, among 
whom internal dissensions had arisen, owing 
to the release of Shao (by Prince Azim, 
immediately after his father's death), and 
the disputed succession between him and the 
son of Tara Bye, whose claims, although an 
idiot, were actively upheld by his ambitious 
mother. The ascendancy of Shao was 
recognised by the Mogul government, and 
the chout, or fourth, of the revenues of the 
Deccan conceded to him. The Rajpoots 
were likewise permitted to make peace on 
very favourable terms. The territory cap- 

* Sometimes entitled Alum Shah Bahadur, 
t Eradut Khan, one of the many rebellious nobles, 
who, after the defeat of Azim, were freely pardoned, 
says, that the sons of the fallen princes were always 
permitted to appear fully armed before the em- 
peror, to accompany him daily in the chase, and 
share in all his diversions. Seventeen princes — 
his sons, grandsons, and nephews, sat round his 
throne: the royal captives of Beejapoor and Gol- 
conda were likewise suffered to take their place im- 
mediately behind the royal princes ; and a crowd 
' of the high nobility daily thronged " the platform 
between the silver rails." — (Scott's Deccan, vol. ii., 
p. 49.) 


tured from the rana of Oudipoor was restored, 
and he became again independent in all but 
name. Ajeet Sing, the rajah of Marwar, 
and Jey Sing, of Jeypoor, appear to have 
obtained nearly similar advantages, but rather 
from necessity than good-will, since the em- 
peror was about to advance against them, 
when his attention was diverted by intelli- 
gence of the capture of Sirhind by the 
Sikhs. These people, from an inoffensive, 
religious sect, founded about the end of the 
fifteenth century by a Hindoo named 
Nanuk,* had been changed by persecution 
into fanatical warriors. When driven from 
the neighbourhood of Lahore, which had 
been their original seat, they took refuge in 
the northern mountains, a.d. 1606, and 
there remained for nearly seventy years, 
uutil the accession of Guru Govind, the 
tenth spiritual chief from Nanuk. This 
leader conceived the idea of forming the 

Sikhs into a religious and militarv COmmOn- 
cS 4 

wealth. To increase their numbers, he 
abolished all distinction of caste, and all 
prohibitions regarding food or drink, except 
the slaughter of kine, which was strictly 
forbidden. Hindoo idols and Brahmins were 
to be respected, but the usual forms of 
worship were set aside. All converts were 
admitted to a perfect equality, and were 
expected to take a vow to fight for the 
cause, always to carry steel in some part of 
the person, to wear blue clothes, allow the 
head and beard to grow, and neither clip nor 
remove the hair on any part of the body. 

The Sikhs fought desperately, but were 
too few in number to accomplish the plans 
of resistance and revenge planned by Guru 
Govind, who, after beholding his strong- 
holds taken, his mother and children mas- 
sacred, his followers slain, mutilated, or 
dispersed, was himself assassinated by a 
private enemy. To his spiritual authority, 
as Guru, no successor was appointed. The 
temporal command of the infuriated Sikhs 
was assumed by a Hindoo ascetic, named 
Bandu, under whose leadership they overran 
the east of the Punjaub, and, true to their 

* The beauty of Nanuk, when a mere boy, attracted 
the attention of a learned and wealthy Seyed, who 
caused him to be educated and instructed in the 
doctrines of Islam. As he grew up, Nanuk extended 
his reading, collected maxims alike from the Koran 
and the Vedas, and endeavoured to unite Moham- 
medan and Hindoo doctrines on the basis of the 
unity of God. Converts flocked around him, taking 
the name of Sikhs {the instructed), and giving to 
their preceptor the name and authority of Guru 
(spiritual chief.) The doctrines of the sect were 

vengeful motto of unceasing enmity to 
the Mohammedans, not only destroyed the 
mosques and slaughtered the moollahs, but 
massacred the population of whole towns, 
sparing neither age nor sex, and even dis- 
interring the bodies of the dead, and ex- 
posing them as food for carrion. The chief 
seat of these atrocities was Sirhind, which 
they occupied after defeating the governor 
in a pitched battle : they subsequently retired 
to the country on the upper course of the 
Sutlej, whence they made marauding in- 
cursions, extending to the neighbourhood of 
Lahore on the one side, and of Delhi on the 

Bahadur Shah marched against them in 
1711, and soon obliged them to take refuge 
in the hills, where they long continued to 
struggle against the imperial force. Bandu 
was at last shut up in a fort, which was 
strictly blockaded; but the Sikhs continued 
the defence until large numbers perished of 
hunger, and then made a desperate sally, 
upon which the enemy took possession of 
the fort without further resistance ; but 
Bandu escaped through the self-devotion 
of one of his followers, by whom he was 

After this success, the emperor took his 
departure ; but the Sikhs had received only 
a temporary check; and their power was 
again in the ascendant, when Bahadur Shah 
expired suddenly at Lahore (not without 
suspicion of poison), in the seventy-first 
(lunar) year of his age, and the fifth of his 
reign, a.d. 1712. 

Jchandar Shah. — On the death of the 
emperor, a deadly conflict commenced be- 
tween his four sons, in which three perished 
— the eldest ascending the throne, notwith- 
standing his well-known incapacity, by the 
aid of Zulfikar Khan, who had taken part 
with him from ambitious motives, hoping to 
govern absolutely under the name of vizier. 
All the princes of the blood, whose persons 
were within reach, were slain, to secure the 
authority of the new ruler. But this iniquity 
only served to heighten the hatred and disgust 

gradually embodied in sacred volumes called Grunths, 
and the Sikhs silently increased; until, in 1606, the 
Moslem government took offence at their leading 
tenet — that the form of worship offered to the Deity 
was immaterial — and put to death their existing 
chief, whereupon the Sikhs took up arms under his 
son, Hur Govind. — (H. T. Prinsep's Sikh Power.) 

t Though struck by the generosity of the impostor, 
Bahadur is said to have nevertheless sent him pri- 
soner, in an iron cage, to Delhi, an act singularly at 
variance with his compassionate nature. 


excited by the pride and tyranny of Zulfikar 
Khan, and the vices and follies of his impe- 
rial protfyt, who lavished honours upon his 
favourite mistress (originally a public dancer), 
and promoted her relations, although, like 
herself, of a most discreditable class, to the 
highest dignities in the state. Dissatisfac- 
tion prevailed throughout the court, when 
tidings arrived that Feroksheer (the son of 
one of the fallen prunces whom Jehandar 
had vainly striven to get into his power) 
had prevailed upon two Seyed* brothers, 
the governors of Behar and Allahabad, to 
espouse his cause ; and having, by their aid, 
assembled an army, was now marching to- 
wards Agra. Jehandar and Zulfikar met the 
invaders, at the head of 70,000 men; but, 
being defeated, the emperor fled in disguise 
to Delhi, and took refuge in the house of 
Assud Khan. The treacherous old man 
made him a prisoner, and persuaded Zulfikar 
(who arrived soon after, with the remaining 
troops) to make terms with the conqueror, 
by the surrender of their unfortunate master. 
The father and son then presented them- 
selves to Feroksheer, with fettered hands, as 
they had done to his grandfather, Bahadur 
Shah, some six years before, but with a very 
different result. Zulfikar and Jehandar 
were strangled with a leathern thong, after 
which their bodies were fastened to an ele- 
phant, and dragged through the leading 
thoroughfares of Delhi, followed by the 
wretched Assud Khan, and all the female 
members of his family, in covered carriages. 
Thus ended the nine months' sway of Je- 
handar Shah, a.d. 1713. 

Feroksheer' s first act of sovereignty was 
to appoint the Seyed brothers to the highest 
offices in the empire — the elder, Abdullah 
Khan, being made vizier ; the younger, 
Hussein Ali, ameer ool omra, or com- 
mander-in-chief. He next proceeded to 
remove from his path, by the bow-string, 
such of the old nobility as might be disposed 
to combine against him ; and the same in- 

* Lineal descendants of Mohammed. 

t The mother of Feroksheer had taken a leading 
part in persuading the Seyed brothers, for the sake 
of her husband who had befriended them, to uphold 
her son ; and had sworn upon the Koran, that if they 
would do so, no plot should ever be formed against 
them, of which she, if cognizant, would not give them 
immediate information. This pledge was conscien- 
tiously redeemed, and her timely warning more than 
once preserved their lives. — Vide Col. Briggs' revised 
translation of the Siyar-ul-Mutakherin — (Manners of 
the Moderns), a work comprising the history of the 
greater part of the eighteenth century, written in a 
very clear and interesting manner, by Mir Gholam 

strument was freely used among the remain- 
ing members of the royal family, including 
even his own infant brothers. These cruel- 
ties were sure indications of a suspicious 
and cowardly nature ; and, as might be ex- 
pected, his distrust was soon excited against 
the very persons by whom he had been 
raised to the throne. The consequence was, 
that his whole reign was a continued, 
though long-disguised struggle with the two 
Seyeds, whose watchfulness and confidence 
in each other rendered them eventually 
victorious.t Feroksheer endeavoured to 
weaken, by dividing them ; and, for this end, 
sent Hussein against Ajeet Sing, of Marwar, 
to whom a private intimation was for- 
warded, that the emperor would be well- 
pleased by the defeat and death of his own 
general. The plot failed ; for the parties 
immediately concerned wisely consulted 
their mutual interest, by making a speedy 
peace, and Hussein returned to court, bear- 
ing with him the daughter of the rajah, to 
be the bride of his ungrateful sovereign. 
The nuptials were celebrated on a scale of 
extraordinary magnificence ; but were no 
sooner terminated, than Hussein Ali was 
sent to the Deccan, ostensibly to prosecute 
hostilities against the Mahrattas. Daud 
Khan Panni, an Afghan commander, re- 
nowned for reckless courage, received orders 
to join Hussein, and, under pretence of 
co-operation, to take the first opportunity of 
effecting his destruction. But the agent 
selected to carry this nefarious scheme into 
execution was ill-chosen. Daud Khan, 
though well-disposed to revenge the death 
of his old patron, Zulfikar Khan,J would 
not stoop to stab in the dark ; he therefore 
set the Seyed at defiance, engaged him as 
an open enemy, and, by the impetuosity of 
his charge, had nearly triumphed, when a 
ball pierced his brain, and at once changed 
the fortune of the day. Hussein Ali pro- 
ceeded to execute his commission against 
the Mahrattas, without openly attributing 

Hussein, a Delhi noble. Mr. St. George Tucker, late 
chairman of the East India Company, who met him 
repeatedly at Gya Behar, in 1786-7, alludes to him 
as " the finest specimen of a nobleman I had ever 
seen." — {Tucker's Life and Correspondence, edited 
by J. W. Kaye, vol. i., p. 40.) 

X Zulfikar Khan, on receiving the appointment of 
viceroy of the Deccan, had been permitted to reside 
at court, leaving Daud Khan as his representative, 
or, as it was then termed, naik subah-dar, deputy 
viceroy. He was himself succeeded, in 1713, by 
Cheen Kilich Khan (afterwards well-known under 
the titles of Nizam-ool-Moolk and Asuf Jah), who 
was in turn removed by Hussein Ali. 


to the emperor the opposition which he had 
encountered, and sent a strong detachment 
against a chief named Dabari, who had 
established a line of fortified villages in 
Candeish, and by his depredations on cara- 
vans, shut up the great road from Hindoo- 
stan and the Deccan to Surat. While one 
portion of the imperial troops was thus 
employed, another was dispatched against 
the Sikhs, who had renewed their ravages 
with increased fury. Bandu was defeated, 
captured, and put to death in a most barba- 
rous manner, and a large number of his 
followers were slaughtered in cold blood.* 
Those who remained at large were hunted 
down like wild beasts, and a considerable 
time elapsed before they became again for- 
midable. In the Deccan the Moguls were 
less successful : the Mahrattas practised 
their usual tactics of evacuating assaulted 
positions, and leading their foes, by the oft- 
repeated expedient of a pretended flight, 
among hilly and broken ground, where they 
were easily separated and defeated in de- 
tail, many being cut to pieces, and others 
stripped of their, horses, arms, and even 
clothes. This inauspicious campaign was 
at length brought to a discreditable con- 
clusion ; for Hussein Ali, determined at 
any cost to rejoin his brother at Delhi, 
made a treaty with Rajah Shao, acknow- 
ledging his claim to the whole of the terri- 
tory possessed by Sevajee, with the addition 
of later conquests, and authorising not only 
the levy of the chout, or fourth, over the 
whole of the Deccan, but also of surdesh- 
mooki,t or one-tenth of the remaining re- 
venue. In return, Shao was to pay a tribute 
of ten lacs of rupees; to furnish a contin- 

* The majority were executed on the field of 
battle ; but 740 were sent to Delhi, and after being 
paraded through the streets on camels, were be- 
headed on seven successive days, having firmly re- 
jected the offer of life, on condition of belying their 
religious opinions. Bandu was exhibited in an iron 
cage, clad in a robe of cloth-of-gold and a scarlet 
turban : around him were the heads of his followers, 
fixed on pikes ; and even a dead cat was stuck up to 
indicate the extirpation of everything belonging to 
him. On his refusal to stab his own infant, the 
child was slaughtered before his eyes, and its heart 
forced into his mouth. The wretched father was then 
torn to pieces with hot irons, and died defying his 
persecutors, and exulting in the belief that he had 
been raised up to scourge the iniquity and oppres- 
sion of the age. — (Scott's History of the Deccan.) 

+ The Desmookh, literally chief of the district, was 
an hereditary officer under the Hindoo government, 
who received a portion of the revenue in money or 
in kind ; " and," says General Briggs, " in the local 
or modern appellations of Dessavi, Nat Gour, Na- 

gent of 16,000 horse; to preserve the tran- 
quillity of the country; and to be answerable 
for any loss occasioned by depredations, 
from whatever quarter. 

As Shao was at this time engaged in 
civil war, it was manifest that he could but 
very imperfectly perform his part of this 
extraordinary agreement, since a consider- 
able portion of the country recognised as 
his, was really in possession of the hostile 
party. Feroksheer refused to ratify the 
treaty ; but Hussein Ali gained his point, 
by returning to Delhi, where his presence 
was much needed by his brother, Abdullah 
Khan. This noble, though a man of talent, 
was indolent, and devoted to the pleasures of 
the seraglio ; he therefore delegated the 
business of the vizierat almost wholly to 
his deputy, a Hindoo named Ruttun Chand, 
whose strict measures, arbitrary temper, and 
zeal for the Brahminical faith, aggravated 
the jealous feelings with which his adminis- 
tration was regarded by the Mussulman 
nobility. Of this state of affairs Feroksheer 
endeavoured to take advantage, by forming 
a combination of the chief persons to whom 
the vizier was known to have given offence. 
Among these were Jey Sing, of Jeypoor,J 
Cheen Kilich Khan, and others of impor- 
tance, who entered warmly into the matter ; 
but the irresolution and timidity of the 
emperor, together with the continued pre- 
ference which he evinced, even at this 
critical period, for incapable and profligate 
advisers, disgusted and disheartened the 
nobles who were inclined to take part with 
him, and all except Jey Sing deserted his 
cause, § and made their peace with the 
vizier, from whom Cheen Kilich Khan re- 

tumkur, Naidu, Dessye, Desmookh, and Zemindar, 
we recognise the same person, from Ceylon to Cash- 
mere, to the present day." — (Note to Siyar-ul-Mutak- 
herin, p. 146.) It was as compensation for an 
hereditary claim of this description, purchased by 
Shahjee, that his son Sevajee stipulated with Au- 
rungzebe for certain assignments on the Beejapoor 
revenue as early as 1666. — (Grant Duff, vol. i., p. 497.) 

X This chieftain had been employed against the 
Jats, whom, after a long course of operations, he 
had succeeded in reducing to extremities ; when the 
vizier opened a direct negotiation with them, in a 
manner considered very derogatory to the honour 
of the Rajpoot general. The cause of offence to 
Cheen Kilich Khan was his removal from the vice- 
royalty of the Deccan to the petty government of 
Moradabad. — (Elphinstone's India, vol. ii., p. 580.) 

§ In marching through Amber, Hussein Ali, to 
punish the fidelity of Jey Sing to the emperor, 
gave full scope to the rapacity of the soldiery, who 
ravaged the land and carried away many persons, of 
both sexes, into captivity. — (Siyar-ul-Mutakherin.) 


ceived large promises of increased rank and 
influence, in return for co-operation against 
Feroksheer, whose doom was now sealed by 
the arrival of Hussein Ali, at the head of an 
army devoted to him, and strengthened by 
10,000 Mahrattas. Hussein immediately 
demanded the dismissal of Jey Sing to his 
own principality. Feroksheer complied, and 
strove to deprecate the vengeance of his 
enemies by the most abject submission, 
giving no encouragement to the few nobles 
who were still inclined to take part with 
him. All was gloom and uncertainty, when 
the townspeople suddenly rose against the 
Mahrattas, upon which the Seyeds, taking 
advantage of the disturbance, marched into 
the city, forcibly occupied the palace, and 
wrung by torture, from the women of the 
seraglio, a knowledge of the hiding-place of 
the unhappy emperor, who was seized, flung 
into a dark closet, and soon afterwards put 
to death in a cruel and insulting manner. 
The body was then buried in that general 
receptacle for the murdered princes of the 
house of Timur — the sepulchre of Hu- 
mayun : but the people evinced an un- 
looked-for degree of grief ; and of the needy 
multitude who followed the funeral proces- 
sion, no one could be induced to accept the 
money brought for distribution, or partake 
of the victuals prepared in conformity to 
custom. Three days afterwards a number 
of poor persons assembled at the place where 
the corpse had been washed and perfumed, 
according to Mussulman rites, and having 
distributed a large quantity of food, sent for 
several readers of the Koran, with whom 
they passed the whole night in tears and 
lamentations, separating in the morning in 
an orderly manner. 

" Oh, wonderful God ! " exclaims Khan 
Khan, in concluding the above narration, 
" how did thy Divine justice manifest 
itself in the several events of this revolu- 
tion ! Feroksheer, in his days of power, 
had strangled his own brothers, yet in their 
tender years : he had murdered numbers of 
innocent persons, and blinded others ; and 
he was, therefore, destined to suffer all these 
cruelties before he was permitted to die : 
he was doomed to experience, from the 

* Vide Siyar-ul- Muhtklwrin, vol. i., p. 193. From 
using such language respecting two Seyeds, Khafi 
Khan was evidently a Sonnite or Sunni (see note to 
p. 62) ; and disputes between this sect and the 
Sheiahs had risen to an alarming height during the 
late reign, a violent affray having taken place be- 
tween them in the capital. In Ahraedabad, a still 
more serious contest, in which many lives were lost, 

hands of strangers, all those agonies which 
others had suffered at his. Nor did the two 
brothers escape the day of retribution, or 
go themselves unpunished : in a little time 
they met with that same usage which they 
had inflicted on others."* 

During their remaining tenure of pros- 
perity, the Seyeds exercised unlimited power. 
Upon the deposition of Feroksheer, a sickly 
prince of the blood-royal was brought forth 
from the seraglio, and crowned under the 
name of Rafi-ed-derjut . He died of con- 
sumption in little more than three months, 
and his younger brother, Rafi-ed-dowlah, 
being set up in his stead, fell a victim to 
the same disease in a still shorter period. 

Mohammed Shah was the title bestowed 
by "the king-makers" on Roshen-akhter, 
grandson to Bahadur Shah, whom they 
raised to the throne on the death of Rafi-ed- 
dowlah. This prince, now in his eighteenth 
year, had been educated, like his predeces- 
sors, in enervating seclusion; but he pos- 
sessed an able counsellor in his mother, who 
enjoined the most unhesitating acquiescence 
with the will of his imperious protectors, 
until the time should arrive when he might 
safely defy their anger. The desired oppor- 
tunity was not long in presenting itself. 
The decease of the two pageant emperors 
so soon after the murder of Feroksheer 
(although really not the interest of the 
Seyeds, but the reverse), had served to 
deepen the distrust and dislike with which 
they were generally regarded ;f and in Alla- 
habad, Boondi, and the Punjaub, efforts 
were made to take advantage of a govern- 
ment which was daily becoming weaker. 
In Cashmere, a furious contest took place 
between the Hindoos and Mussulmans, pro- 
voked by the persecuting and insulting con- 
duct of the latter, in which some thousand 
lives and much property were destroyed 
before the authorities could restore tran- 
quillity. But the most important event of 
this period was the revolt of Cheen Kilich' 
Khan, the governor of Malwa. This chief, 
whose descendants were the famous NizamsJ 
of the Deccan, is better known by his titles 
of Nizam-ool-Moolk or Asuf Jah, by which 
he will henceforth be indiscriminately 

had occurred between the Hindoos and the Mussul- 
mans, in which the governor (Daud Khan Panni) 
took part with the former. 

t Rafi-ed-derjut was said to have been poisoned 
for attempting to contravene the will of the Seyeds. 

% Nizam-ool-Moolk, signifies regulator of the state , 
" the Nizam," though scarcely a correct expression, is 
commonly used by European writers to this day. 



termed. His father, a Turk, had been a 
favourite officer with Aurungzebe, under 
whom he had himself served with distinc- 
tion. The waywardness of Feroksheer had 
induced him to take part with the Seyeds, 
from whom he received the government of 
Malwa ; but their evident weakness tempted 
his ambition, and induced him to levy 
ti'oops, and attempt the establishment of an 
independent power in the Deccan. March- 
ing to the Nerbudda, he obtained possession 
of the fortress of Aseerghur, by the simple 
expedient of furnishing the garrison their 
two years' arrears of pay ; the citadel of Boor- 
hanpoor was acquired in a somewhat similar 
manner; and many Deccani officers, both 
Mussulman and Mahratta, joined the in- 
vader. Two armies were dispatched against 
him from Malwa and Aurungabad; but Asuf 
Jah, knowing the impetuous character of 
one of the commanders (Dilawur Khan), 
drew him into an engagement before he 
could be supported by his colleague, Alum 
Ali (a nephew of the two Seyeds) ; and both 
forces were separately engaged and defeated, 
with the loss of their respective leaders. 

Much alarm was created at Delhi by the 
tidings of these disasters ; and a violent 
earthquake, which occurred about this time, 
deepened the gloom of the political horizon. 
The usurping brothers shared the general 
feeling; and the young emperor, though 
closely watched, began to form plans of de- 
liverance from his wearisome tutelage, being 
aided in this perilous enterprise by a noble- 
man, named Mohammed Ameen Khan, 
with whom he conversed in Turki, a lan- 
guage unknown to the Indian Seyeds. A 
party was secretly formed, in which the 
second place was occupied by Sadut Khan, 
originally a merchant of Khorasan, who had 
risen to a military position, and eventually 
became the progenitor of the kings of Oude. 
These combinations were not unsuspected 
by the brothers, between whom it was at 
length resolved that the younger, Hussein 
Ali, should march against Asuf Jah, carry- 
ing with him the emperor and certain no- 
bles, leaving Abdullah at Delhi to watch 
over their joint interests. Shortly after 

* He appears to have been poisoned ; but popu- 
lar belief assigned a different cause for his death. 
An impostor, named Nemud, had established 
himself at Delhi, and promulgated a new scripture, 
written in a language of his own invention, framed 
from those spoken in ancient Persia, and had founded 
a sect, of which the teachers were called Bekooks, 
and the disciples, Feraboods. The influence of the 
new pretender increased. His proceedings induced 

their separation, Hussein Ali was stabbed 
in his palanquin while reading a petition 
presented to him by the assassin (a Calmuck 
of rank), who immediately fell under the 
daggers of the attendants, a.d. 1720. Ab- 
dullah, on learning his brother's death, set 
up a new emperor, and hastily assembling a 
large but ill-disciplined force, marched 
against Mohammed Shah, who had now 
assumed the reins of government. Chora- 
man, chief or rajah of the Jats (whose num- 
ber and influence had thriven amid the 
general disorganisation), joined the vizier, 
while Jey Sing sent 4,000 men to reinforce 
Mohammed, who was further strengthened 
by some chiefs of the Rohilla Afghans, 
a tribe now rapidly rising into importance. 
The armies met between Delhi and Agra, a 
cruel signal being given for the commence- 
ment of the conflict. Ruttun Chand hav- 
ing been seized immediately after the murder 
of Hussein Ali, was severely beaten and kept 
in chains until the day dawned on which 
the decisive encounter was to take place. 
Then, when " the trumpets sounded and the 
heralds had published three times, as usual, 
that courage in war is safer than cowardice," 
the prisoner was decapitated, and his body 
fastened to the elephant on which Ma- 
hommed Shah sat, in the centre of his 
troops, throughout the whole of the ensuing 
day and night, which the contest occupied. 
Abdullah Khan was at length defeated and 
made prisoner, having received several se- 
vere wounds, of which he died in the course 
of a few months. Mohammed Shah entered 
Delhi in triumph : the empress-mother re- 
ceived him at the entrance of the haram, 
bearing a basin filled with gems and new 
coins, which she poured over his head, as a 
"wave-offering" of joy and thanksgiving. 
The puppet-prince, crowned by Abdullah 
Khan, was sent back to his former seclusion, 
happy in thus escaping punishment for the 
part which he had been made to bear in the 
late events. Mohammed Ameen Khan be- 
came vizier, but had scarcely entered upon 
the duties of his office, before he was taken 
ill, and died, after a few hours of extreme 
agony.* Asuf Jah was appointed as his 

Ameen to issue orders for his apprehension ; but be- 
fore they could be executed, the vizier was taken 
ill, and his alarmed family, believing the wrath of 
Nemud to be the cause of this sudden attack, en- 
deavoured, by gifts and entreaties, to avert his ven- 
geance ; but could obtain no other answer than — - 
that the arrow being shot, could not be recalled. 
He was, nevertheless, left undisturbed, and died 
about three years after. ~(S/par-ul-Mutakhcrin.) 


successor,* it being hoped that his abilities 
might prop up the falling monarchy. He 
did not, however, choose to leave the Dec- 
can until his arrangements with the Mah- 
rattas should be placed on a satisfactory 
footing. Meanwhile Mohammed was left to 
make his own terms with Ajeet Sing, whom 
he had offended by breaking his secret 
pledge, that as the reward of the rajah's 
neutrality, with regard to the Seyeds, he 
should receive the government of Ajmeer, 
in addition to that of Guzerat, which he 
already possessed. But the hour of peril 
having passed, its engagements were forgot- 
ten; not only was Ajmeer withheld, but 
Ajeet Sing was removed from Guzerat, upon 
which, assembling a large army of Rajpoots, 
he occupied Ajmeer, plundered Narnol, and 
marched within fifty miles of Delhi, the 
emperor being at length glad to compromise 
the matter by confirming him in the posses- 
sion of Ajmeer. This happened at the close 
of 1721 : in the beginning of the following 
year, Asuf J ah arrived in Delhi, and beheld 
with dismay the shameless dissipation which 
prevailed there. Corruption and intrigue 
were venial sins, if not necessary expedients, 
in the sight of a diplomatist brought up at 
the court of Aurungzebe ; but indolence and 
sensuality were vices of a class which Asuf 
Jah held in well-merited abhorrence. It 
would seem as if the emperor had by this 
time cast off the salutary influence of his 
mother, since, among the circumstances 
that excited the stern reprobation of the 
vizier, was that of the royal signet being 
entrusted to the care of a favourite mistress, 
who accumulated a large fortune by means 
of the petitions she was suffered to carry 
within the seraglio. The dissolute com- 
panions of the young monarch cordially 
reciprocated the dislike of the minister, and, 
from mimicking the antiquated dress and 
formal manners of "the old Deccani ba- 
boon/' as they insolently termed him, soon 
began to form serious conspiracies, which, 
he perceiving, quitted Delhi on pretence of 
a hunting excursion, and then sent in his 
resignation of the vizierat. Returning to 
the Deccan, he assumed the full powers of 
an independent ruler ; still, however, affect- 
ing to recognise the supremacy of Moham- 
med Shah, who, with equal duplicity, re- 
turned this empty compliment, by conferring 
on him the highest titles that could be held 
by a subject; but, at the same time, sent 

* Asuf Jah signifies " in place and rank, as Asuf," 
who is supposed to have been Solomon's vizier. 

secret orders to Mubariz Khan, the local 
governor of Hyderabad, to endeavour to 
dispossess Asuf Jah, and assume the vice- 
royalty of the Deccan. Mubariz perished 
in the attempt ; and Asuf Jah, not to be out- 
done in dissimulation, sent his head to the 
emperor, with presents and congratulations 
on the suppression of the rebellion. Then, 
fixing his abode at Hyderabad, he strove to 
secure himself against the aggression of 
the Mahrattas, by various manoeuvres, alter- 
nately endeavouring to direct their efforts 
against the Delhi court, or fomenting their 
own internal divisions. Considerable changes 
had taken place since the reign of Bahadur 
Shah. The idiot son of Tara Bye died in 
1712, and a party set up the claims of 
Sumba, a child of the younger widow of 
Rajah Ram. In the struggle between the 
cousins, Shao acquired the superiority by 
the favour of the Moguls, and maintained 
it through the abilities of his minister, 
Balajee Wiswanath (the founder of the 
Brahmin dynasty of Peishwas), who, shortly 
before his death, in 1720, obtained from 
Mohammed Shah a ratification of the 
treaty made with Hussein Ali Khan in 
1717. Chout and surdeshmooki being 
thus made legal claims, Balajee demanded, 
on account of the former, one-fourth of the 
standard assessment fixed by Todar Mul 
and Malek Amber ; but, as of this only a 
small portion could now be realised from 
the exhausted country, the best that could 
be done was to secure at least 25 per cent, 
of the actual receipts. The latter claim, 
styled the rajah's wutun, or inheritance, 
it suited both the foreign and domestic 
policy of the Mahrattas to keep undefined; 
" but," says Grant Duff, " one system in 
practice — that of exacting as much as they 
could, was as simple as it was invariable."f 
The revenue thus acquired was parcelled 
out by Balajee in assignments on various 
districts, and distributed among different 
chiefs, in such a manner as to give each an 
interest in the increase of the general stock, 
while to none was allotted a compact pro- 
perty calculated to tempt its holder into 
forming plans of independence. This was 
the general rule; but some Mahrattas 
were already landed proprietors, and others 
were occasionally permitted to become so. 
The complicated state of affairs which natu- 
rally resulted from the above arrangements, 
rendered the illiterate chiefs more than ever 
dependent on their carcoons, or Brahmin 
f History of the Mahrattas, vol. i., p. 454. 


clerks.* The power of the peishwas grew with 
that of their caste ; and from being secondf 
in the counsels of the rajah, they became 
paramount even over their nominal master, 
to which result, the talents and energy of Ba- 
jee Rao, the son and successor of Balajee, 
greatly contributed. This remarkable man 
united to the enterprise and vigour of a 
Mahratta chief J the polished manners and 
address which frequently distinguish the 
Brahmins of the Concan. He saw clearly 
that the predatory hordes, so useful in an 
enemy's country, would prove ungovernable 
at home ; and, therefore, urged their imme- 
diate employment in invading the northern 
provinces. Shao hesitated : brought up in 
a Mussulman seraglio, he had retained little 
of the restless spirit of his countrymen; but 
when Bajee Rao pointed out the weakness 
of the Mogul empire, adding, " now is our 
time to drive strangers from the land of 
the Hindoos — let us strike at the trunk of 
the withering tree, the branches must fall 
of themselves," the rajah, roused to enthu- 
siasm by the prophecy that his standard 
should fly from the Kistna to the Attock, 
exclaimed — " You shall plant it on the 
Himalaya, noble son of a worthy father."§ 
These ambitious projects were materially 
forwarded by the disputes between the 
emperor and Asuf Jah. The latter, while 
vizier, had obtained possession of the go- 
vernment of Guzerat; but was deprived of 
it, as also of Malwa, after his return to the 

* " Bajee Rao," says Grant Duff, " had not leisure 
to attend to detail or arrangement; the minute 
divisions which were made of the revenues ceded by 
the Moguls, served to provide hundreds of Brahmin 
earcoons with bread ; and every one interpreted the 
amount of his own or his master's claims to Surdesh- 
mooki, Baptee, Mokassa, &c; rather according to his 
power to enforce his demands, than his ability to 
prove their justice."— (Vol. i., p. 568.) 

t The prithee nidkee, or representative of the 
rajah, took rank above the eight ministers or purd- 
hans, of whom the peishwa was the chief ; and Bajee 
Rao long found a troublesome rival in Sreeput Rao, 
the prithee nidhee, whose influence with the rajah 
frequently obliged the peishwa to return to Sattara 
while engaged in distant expeditions, lest his power 
should be undermined through prolonged absence. 

J During his first campaign against Bajee Rao, 
the nizam, desiring to form an idea of the person 
of his opponent, desired a famous painter in his 
service to proceed to the hostile army, and take the 
likeness of its leader, in whatever attitude he might 
be first seen. The result was a sketch of the hand- 
some figure of the peishwa, mounted, with the head 
and heel-ropes of his horse in its feeding-bag, his 
spear resting on his shoulder, and both hands em- 
ployed in rubbing some ears of ripening grain (the 
common joowaree), which he ate as he rode. 

§ Duff's Muhratlas, vol. i., p. 486. 

Deccan. In Guzerat, Hameed Khan (Asuf's 
uncle and deputy) resisted the occupation 
of the newly-appointed governor, Sirbuland 
Khan, and called in the aid of the Mah- 
rattas (a.d. 1725), giving, in return, the 
chout and surdeshmooki of the country 
under him, which grant, Sirbuland Khan, 
though victorious over Hameed, was even- 
tually obliged to confirm. || Bajee Rao, 
about the same time, made incursions into 
Malwa, entrusting the chief commands to 
the afterwards famous leaders, Puar, Holcar, 
and Sindia.^f 

The nizam (Asuf Jah), beheld with 
alarm the growing power of the peishwa, 
which he strove to undermine in various 
ways. But secret plots and open hostility 
alike failed ;** and fearing that the emperor 
might be disposed to revenge his insubordi- 
nation, by transferring the viceroyalty to his 
powerful foe, he changed his policy, and 
made overtures to Bajee Rao, which pro- 
duced the mutual good understanding neces- 
sary to the immediate plans of both parties. 

The presence of the peishwa was now 
needed for the support of the Mahratta 
interest in Guzerat, the court of Delhi 
having refused to ratify the grant made by 
Sirbuland Khan, who had been dismissed 
from the government, and forcibly expelled 
by his successor, Abhi Sing, rajah of Joud- 
poor, the unnatural son of the brave Ajeet 
Sing. ff Pilajee Guicowar (the ancestor of 
the family still ruling in Guzerat) repre- 

|| In 1729, he granted deeds, ceding ten per cent. 
{surdeshmooki) of the whole revenue, both on the 
land and customs, with the exception of the port of 
Surat and the district around it; together with one- 
fourth {chout) of the whole collections on the land and 
customs, excepting Surat; and five per cent, on the 
revenues of the city of Ahmedabad. — (Grant Duff's 
History of the Mahrattas, vol. i., p. 514.) 

5f Udajee Puar was a chief before his connection 
with the peishwa. Mulhar Rao Holcar was a shep- 
herd on the Neera, south of Poona ; and Sindia, 
though of a respectable family, near Sattara, had 
acted as a menial servant to Bajee Rao. 

** The nizam first affected to doubt whether the 
money due from his revenues was to be paid to Shao 
or Sumba ; but this question was decided by the 
treaty which the latter was compelled to sign, ac- 
cepting, in lieu of all other claims, a tract of country 
round Kolapoor, bounded on the west by the sea. 
Asuf Jah next allied himself with a powerful leader, 
named Dhabari (the hereditary senaputee, or com- 
mander-in-chief), who had mainly assisted in the esta- 
blishment of Mahratta power in Guzerat, and viewed 
with envy the paramount sway of Bajee Rao. 
Dhabari assembled an army of 35,000 men, and 
marched against the peishwa, by whom he was de- 
feated and slain, A.D. 1731. 

ft Ajeet Sing refusing to sanction the nefarious 
schemes of the two Seyeds, they sent for his son, and 


sented the rights or claims of the Mahrattas 
in that district ; and Abhi Sing, finding him 
a formidable adversary, procured his removal 
by assassination. This crime roused the in- 
dignation of the countrymen of the deceased: 
his son and brother appeared in great force; 
the hill tribes of Bheels and Coolies flocked 
round their standard ; and, beside throwing 
the whole province into confusion, made a 
sudden irruption into the hereditary domi- 
nions of the Rajpoot governor, who, leaving 
a very inefficient deputy in Guzerat, with- 
drew to defend his own principality. In 
Malwa, the fortune of the Moguls was 
equally on the decline : Bajee Rao invaded 
it in person in 1732, and, taking advantage 
of the hostility between Mohammed Khan 
Bungush, the viceroy of Malwa and Allaha- 
bad,* and the rajah of Bundelcund, whose 
territory lay between those two provinces, 
made common cause with the latter, and 
succeeded in expelling the imperial governor. 
The Bundelcund rajah, in return for this 
co-operation, ceded the territory of Jausi, 
on the Jumna, to the peishwa, and, at his 
death, bequeathed to him certain rights in 
Bundelcund, which paved the way to the 
occupation of the whole of that country 
by the Mahrattas. Rajah Jey Sing II., of 
Amber, was now made viceroy of Malwa. 
This prince, so celebrated for munificence, 
learning, and love of science,t does not 
seem to have inherited the Rajpoot passion 
for war. He considered it hopeless to 
oppose the partition of the empire, and, 
therefore, surrendered the province to the 
peishwa (a.d. 1734), with the tacit con- 
currence of Mohammed Shah, on whose 
behalf it was still to be held. By this 
conduct, Jey Sing is said, by his own coun- 
trymen, " to have given the key of Hin- 
doostan to the Southron but it is certain 
that he strove to curb the excesses of the 
Mahrattas, whose power and influence con- 
tinued to increase during the two following 

informed him that the deposition and death of his 
father were the only means of averting the destruc- 
tion of Marwar. By the offer of the independent 
sovereignty of Nag ore, Abhi Sing prevailed on his 
younger brother, Bukht Sing, to murder their 
father, who was stabbed while sleeping. The mother 
of these parricidal sons burnt herself with her hus- 
band's body ; and no less than eighty-four persons 
shared her fate ; for, says Tod, " so much was Ajeet 
beloved, that even men devoted themselves on his 
pyre." — {Rajast'han, vol. i., p. 745.) 

* Mohammed Khan threw himself into a fort, and 
was almost driven to surrender at discretion, when 
his wife sent her veil (the strongest appeal to Afghan 
honour) to her countrymen in Rohilcund; and by 

years, at the expiration of which Bajee Rao, 
after a short interval spent in arranging the 
internal affairs of the Deccan, again took 
up the negotiation, and demanded, as the 
price of peace, a jaghire, comprising no- 
thing less than the whole province of Malwa, 
and all the country south of the Chumbul, 
together with the holy cities of Muttra, 
Allahabad, and Benares. As the Mah- 
rattas, like many other diplomatists, inva- 
riably began by demanding much more than 
they expected to obtain, the emperor tried 
to pacify them by minor concessions, in- 
cluding authority to levy tribute on the 
Rajpoots, and to increase that already 
legalised on the territories of Asuf Jah. 
This permission had the doubtless desired 
effect on the mind of the nizam. Be- 
coming seriously alarmed by the rapid pro- 
gress of his allies, he thought he had carried 
his policy of weakening the Moguls too far, 
and listened gladly to the solicitations of 
Mohammed Shah, who, overlooking his 
rebellious conduct, now earnestly desired his 
assistance. The courtiers, likewise, chang- 
ing their tone, began to reckon upon the 
advice of the nizam as that of " an old 
wolf who had seen much bad weather." 
Asuf Jah was yet deliberating how to act, 
when Bajee Rao marched towards the 
capital, sending a detachment of light troops, 
under Holcar, to ravage the country beyond 
the Jumna. Sadut Khan, the governor of 
Oude, advanced to the defence of the ad- 
joining province; and the check given by 
this spirited proceeding was magnified into a 
decided victory, the report of which occa- 
sioned excessive rejoicing at Delhi, and so 
galled Bajee Rao, that avoiding the army 
sent out to meet him, he advanced at the 
rate of forty miles daily, being resolved, as 
he said, to prove to the emperor that he 
had not been expelled from flindoostan by 
showing him flames and Mahrattas at the 
gates of the capital. J As his object was, 

means of the volunteers thus assembled, her husband 
was rescued and escorted to Allahabad. (Scott, vol.ii.) 

-j- This prince occupied the gadi, or cushion of 
Amber, for forty-four years. When dismissed by 
Feroksheer {see p. 158), he retired to his hereditary 
dominions, devoting himself to the study of astronomy 
and history. He built the city of Jey poor; erected 
observatories, furnished with instruments of his own 
invention, at Delhi, Jeypoor, Oojein, Benares, and 
Mat'hura, upon a scale of Asiatic grandeur ; and 
caused Euclid's Elements, the Treatises on Plain and 
Spherical Trigonometry, and Napier on the Construc- 
tion and Use of Logarithms, to be translated into 
Sanscrit. — {Rajast'han, vol. ii., p. 358.) 

i Duffs Mahrattas. vol. i., o. 532. 


however, to intimidate rather than pro- 
voke, he exerted every effort to prevent 
the devastation of the suburbs by his troops, 
and, for this purpose, drew off to some 
distance from the city. This movement 
being attributed to fear, induced the Moguls 
to make a sally ; but they were driven back 
with heavy loss. The approach of the im- 
perial forces, and also of Sadut Khan, warned 
Bajee Rao of the necessity of making good 
his retreat to the Deccan, which the nizam 
quitted some months later for Delhi, tempted 
by the promise not only of the vizierat, but 
also of the viceroyalty of Malwa and Guzerat, 
provided he could expel the Mahrattas. 

With an army of about 34,000 men under 
his personal command, supported by a fine 
train of artillery and a reserve, the nizam 
advanced to Seronje against his formidable 
foes, while B aj ee Rao crossed the Nerbudda at 
the head of a nominally-superior force. This 
circumstance, added perhaps to reliance on 
his artillery, led Asuf Jah, with character- 
istic caution, to establish himself in a strong 
position close to the fort of Bhopal, and 
there await the enemy. But he ought to 
have been better acquainted with Mahratta 
tactics. Seldom formidable in pitched bat- 
tles, they gladly avoided a decisive encounter, 
and resorted to their usual plans of laying 
waste the surrounding country, intercepting 
all communication, and attacking every de- 
tachment that ventured beyond the lines. 
Dispirited by watching and privation, many 
of the nizam* s troops were inclined to desert ; 
but Bajee Rao gave them no encouragement, 
well knowing, that so long as the blockade 
could be secured, the greater the numbers 
the greater their straits. After the lapse of 
a month or six weeks, Asuf Jah, straitened 
for supplies, and completely cut off from the 
i reserve force, attempted a retreat northward, 
under cover of his powerful artillery, but 
was so harassed by the Mahrattas as to be 
compelled to come to terms, and agree, on 
condition of being suffered to pursue his 
humiliating march unmolested, to give up 
Malwa, with the complete sovereignty of all 
the country from the Nerbudda to the Chum- 
l bul, solemnly engaging to use his best en- 

* " I tried hard," says Bajee Rao, in a letter to 
his brother, " to get something from the nabob him- 
self ; but this I scarcely expected. I recollected his 
unwillingness to part with money when I entered on 
an agreement to assist him ;" alluding to their com- 
pact six years before. — (Duff, vol. i., p. 542.) 

+ The Wonderful being used as a title of the 
Divinity. The father of Nadir Kooli belonged to 
the Turki tribe of Afshar, and earned his livelihood 

deavours to procure from the emperor a 
confirmation of this cession, together with 
a payment of fifty lacs of rupees (£500,000), 
to defray the peishwa's expenses.* Ba- 
jee Rao proceeded to occupy the territory 
thus acquired ; but before the decision of the 
emperor could be pronounced, an event oc- 
curred which, for the time, threw into the 
shade the internal dissension that mainly 
contributed to bring upon unhappy Hin- 
doostan so terrible a visitation. 

Invasion of Nadir Shah. — The last men- 
tion made of Persia was the circumstance 
of the intended hostilities between Shah 
Abbas II. and Aurungzebe being broken off 
by the death of the former monarch in 1666. 
Since then, great changes had occurred. 
The Saffavi, or Sophi dynasty, after a dura- 
tion of two centuries, had fallen into a state 
of weakness and decay ; and Shah Hussein, 
the last independent sovereign of that race, 
was defeated and deposed by Mahmood, the 
leader of the Afghan tribe of Ghiljeis, who 
usurped the throne of Persia, a.d. 1722. 
Two years (spent in the unsparing destruc- 
tion of the wretched Persians, whose nume- 
rical superiority was their worst crime in 
the eyes of their barbarous conquerors) ter- 
minated the career of Mahmood : he died 
raving mad, and was succeeded by his 
nephew, Ashruf. The new king resisted 
successfully the assaults of the Russians 
and Turks, who entered into a confederacy 
for dismembering Persia, the western pro- 
vinces of which were to be appropriated by 
the Porte; the northern, as far as the Araxes, 
by Peter the Great. The death of the czar 
relieved Ashruf from these difficulties ; but 
a more formidable foe arose in the person 
of Prince Tahmasp, the fugitive son of Shah 
Hussein, whose claims were supported by a 
freebooting chief, already widely celebrated 
as a daring and successful leader, under the 
name of Nadir Kooli, slave to the Won- 
derful.f On entering the service of the 
prince, this designation was exchanged for 
that of Tahmasp Kooli Khan, the lord who 
is slave to Tahmasp; but when, after some 
severe struggles, the Afghans had been ex- 
pelled,! this nominally-devoted adherent, 

by making coats and caps of sheep-skins : his famous 
son was born in Khorasan, in 1688. An uncle of 
Nadir Kooli's, who appears to have been at the head 
of a small branch of the Afshars, was governor of 
the fort of Kelat ; but, having quarrelled with his 
turbulent nephew, fell a victim to his resentment, 
Nadir Kooli slaying him with his own hand. 

J Ashruf was murdered by a Beloochee chief, be- 
tween Kerman and Candahar, in 1729. 


finding his master disposed to exercise the 
prerogatives of royalty, found means to depose 
him, and place his infant son on the throne, 
usurping the sole authority under the name 
of regent. Repeated victories over the Turks, 
ending in a treaty of peace with both Turkey 
and Russia, rendered this soldier of fortune 
so popular in Persia, that he felt the time 
nad arrived to give free rein to ambition. 
The boy-king died opportunely at Ispahan ; 
and Nadir, assembling the army and the 
leading persons in the empire, to the num- 
ber of 100,000, in the spacious plain of 
Mogham, bade them choose a ruler. They 
named him unanimously ; upon which he, 
after a hypocritical declaration that he 
looked upon the voice of the people as 
the voice of God, and would therefore abide 
by their decision, although it contravened 
his own intention in calling them together, 
accepted the crown, on condition of the 
general renunciation of the Sheiah doc- 
trine and the establishment of that of the 
Sunnis, or Sonnites, throughout Persia. 
This proviso was evidently designed for 
the purpose of eradicating any lingering 
regret from the public mind regarding the 
Saffavis, who had ever been the champions 
of the Sheiah sect: but it proved unsuc- 
cessful ; for the people secretly adhered to 
their former belief, and its prohibition, to- 
gether with the strangling of the refractory 
chief moollah, or high-priest, only served to 
alienate them from their new ruler, who, 
on mounting the throne (a.d. 1736), as- 
sumed the title of Nadir Shah, the Won- 
derful King. 

Hostilities with the Ghiljeis, from whom 
Candahar was captured after a close blockade 
of nearly a twelvemonth, brought Nadir 
Shah to the frontiers of the Mogul empire. 
He could not be ignorant of its weakness; 
and the prospect thus afforded of lucrative 
and congenial employment for the warlike 
tribes who owned his sway, offered tempta- 
tions not to be resisted. In such cases, 
pretexts are seldom wanting ; nor were they 
now. While besieging Candahar, Nadir 
Shah had applied to the court of Delhi 
for the seizure or expulsion of some Afghans 
who had fled into the country near Ghuznee ; 
a demand to which the indolent and effete 

* Khan Dowran, and his supporters, treated the 
account of the intercepted embassy from Cabool as a 
report originated by Nizam-ool-Moolk and the Turani 
party at court, and jeeringly declared, that the houses 
of Delhi had very lofty roofs, from which the citizens 
might see Nadir Shah and his troopers from afar 
whenever they chose. — Siyar-ul-Mutakherin, p. 414. 

government, after a long interval, returned 
an ambiguous answer, being, it would ap- 
pear, at once unable to comply with the 
request, and disinclined to acknowledge the 
title of the Persian sovereign. Nadir Shah 
advanced on Ghuznee and Cabool, and, from 
the latter place, which he captured with 
little difficulty, sent another messenger to 
Delhi, who failed in fulfilling his embassy, 
being cut off, with his escort, by the Afghans 
at Jellalabad.* This circumstance was set 
forth as warranting the invasion of India; 
and after spending some months in settling 
the affairs of the country round Cabool, 
Nadir marched to the eastward in October, 
1738.f Even these proceedings failed to 
rouse the supine authorities at Delhi, or 
teach the necessity of merging internal 
strife in defensive operations against a com- 
mon foe. They knew that Cabool was 
taken, but believed, or tried to believe, 
that the mountain tribes and guarded passes 
between that city and Peshawer would check 
the further advance of the invading force, 
although, in fact, even this barrier had been 
cast down by the peculation or misplaced 
economy of Khan Dowran, the ameer-ul- 
omra, who, by withholding the sum of twelve 
lacs of rupees, formerly sent every year for 
the payment of guards, had caused the break- 
ing up of garrisons, until roads and defiles 
being all unwatched, marauding Afghans or 
invading Persians alike passed without ob- 
struction. Its commencement being unop- 
posed, the march of Nadir Shah was speedy 
and terrible. Having sacked Jellalabad, he 
passed through Peshawer, crossed the Attock 
in boats, and entered Moultan. The governor 
of Lahore made some show of opposition, over 
which Nadir triumphed with little difficulty ; 
and, in fact, met with no serious opposition 
until, on approaching the Jumna, within 100 
miles of Delhi, he found himself in the 
neighbourhood of the whole Indian army. 

Mohammed Shah, at length thoroughly 
roused to a sense of the impending calamity, 
strove to meet the danger it was now too 
late to avert ; and, being joined by Asuf Jah, 
moved to Kurnaul, where he occupied a 
fortified camp. Sadut Khan, the viceroy of 
Oude, arrived to join his sovereign ; and 
Nadir Shah, by attempting to intercept 

■f The number of his force is nowhere satisfac- 
torily stated. Fraser, in one place {History of Nadir 
Shah, p. 155), gives the total, including armed fol- 
lowers, at 160,000; but, in a previous page, a more 
distinct enumeration, made by a Persian news-writer 
at the camp at Jellalabad, only shows 64,500 fight- 
ing-men and 4,000 followers. 


him, commenced hostilities, which issued in 
a general engagement. In this battle it 
would appear, that few (if any) Rajpoot 
princes took part, no longer caring to shed 
their blood for a foreign dynasty, whose 
ingratitude they hated, and whose weakness 
they despised. Even in this emergency, 
disunion prevailed in the Indian camp. 
Asuf J ah, from some real or pretended mis- 
conception, took no part in the action. 
Khan Dowran, the commander-in-chief, was 
killed; Sadut Khan taken prisoner; and Mo- 
hammed Shah, seeing his troops completely 
routed, had no resource but to send Asuf 
Jah to offer his submission, and repair him- 
self, with a few attendants, to the Persian 
camp. Nadir Shah, considering the affinity 
between himself, as of Turcoman race, 
(though the son of a cap-maker), and the 
defeated monarch (a lineal descendant of 
the house of Timur), received his unwil- 
ling visitor with every demonstration of 
respect, and would probably have accepted 
a ransom, and spared Delhi, but for the 
selfish intrigues of Sadut Khan and the 
nizam. The accounts recorded of this 
period differ materially ;* but it is certain, 
that after some time spent in apparently 
fruitless negotiations, Nadir Shah marched 
into Delhi, established himself in the palace, 
distributed his troops throughout the city, 
and stationed detachments in different places 
for the protection of the inhabitants. During 
the first day strict discipline was maintained, 
and all was quiet, though, probably, the 
usurpers could as ill-disguise their exulta- 
tion as the Indians their hatred and disgust ; 
but on the second, a rumour spread of the 
death of Nadir Shah,f and the citizens im- 
mediately rising, slew all the Persians within 
reach, to the number of 700, including some 
of those who had been stationed for the 
protection of private dwellings. The tumult 
continued during the whole night : at day- 

* According to the Siyar-v.l-Mutakh.erm, Nadir 
Shah, at an interview with Asuf Jah (procured by 
the diplomacy of the captive, Sadut Khan), consented 
to conclude a peace, and return to his own domi- 
nions, on condition of receiving two crores of rupees 
(£2,000,000 sterling), a piece of intelligence which 
so delighted Mohammed Shah, that he instantly 
conferred the office of ameer-ul-omra on the suc- 
cessful mediator. Sadut Khan, enraged by the suc- 
cess of his rival, told Nadir Shah, that the ransom 
he had consented to receive was absurdly insuffi- 
cient — that he himself could afford to pay it from 
his private fortune ; and, by these treacherous repre- 
sentations, induced the invader to violate his pledge, 
enter the city, and pillage it without mercy. 

i" This rumour is said to have been spread by the 

break, Nadir Shah mounted his horse and 
sallied forth, believing that his presence 
would at once restore order by proving the 
falsity of the current report. Flights of 
stones, arrows, and fire-arms from the houses, 
soon undeceived him ; and one of his chiefs, 
being killed at his side by a shot aimed at 
himself, he ordered his troops to retaliate, 
and not leave a soul alive wherever they 
should discover the corpse of a Persian. 
This command, which, of course, warranted 
nothing less than a general massacre, was 
eagerly obeyed : the soldiery entered the 
houses, and gave free loose to those hateful 
passions — covetousness, lust, revenge; the 
true " dogs of war." The streets of Delhi 
streamed with blood; many thoroughfares 
became blocked up with carcasses ; flames 
burst forth in various places, where the 
wretched citizens, distracted by the thought 
of beholding their wives and children in the 
hands of the foe, had preferred sharing with 
them a fiery death ; the shrieks and groans 
of the dying and the dishonoured pierced 
the air, overpowering at moments the fear- 
ful imprecations, or yet more fiendish scof- 
fing of their persecutors ; and from sunrise 
to broad noon these horrid sights and sounds 
continued unabated. Nadir Shah, it is 
said, after issuing the murderous order, went 
into the little mosque in the Great Bazaar, 
near the centre of the city, and there re- 
mained in gloomy silence until he was 
aroused by the entrance of Mohammed 
Shah, whose deep distress (for though weak 
and sensual, he was compassionate and 
gentle) obtained a command for the termi- 
nation of the massacre. The prompt obe- 
dience of the troops, is quoted by histo- 
rians as a remarkable proof of discipline; 
but these tigers in human form must have 
been weary of a slaughter, in which, ac- 
cording to the lowest trustworthy statement, 
30,000 human beings were put to the sword.J 

proprietors of certain granaries, which nad been 
forcibly opened, and the wheat sold at a low price. 

% Nadir-nameh, translated from Persian into 
French, by Sir W. Jones {Works, vol. v.) Scott 
states the number at 8,000; but Mr. Elphinstone 
naturally remarks, that it is incredible so small a re- 
sult should have been produced by a detachment of 
20,000 men, employed for many hours in unresisted 
butchery (vol. ii., p. 630.) Fraser, who among much 
valuable authority, quotes the journal of a native 
Indian, secretary to Sirbuland Khan, writes — " of 
the citizens (great and small), 120,000 were slaugh- 
tered : others computed them at 150,000 " adding, 
in a note, "about 10,000 women threw themselves 
into wells, some of whom were taken out alive, after 
being there two or three days."— (pp. 185-187.) 


The wretched survivors seem to have wanted 
energy even to perform the funeral obsequies 
of the dead. " In several of the Hindoo 
houses," says Fraser, " where one of a family 
survived, he used to pile thirty or forty car- 
casses a-top of one another, and burn them : 
and so they did in the streets ; notwithstand- 
ing which, there still remained so many, that 
for a considerable time, there was no such 
thing as passing any of those ways." After 
some days, the stench arising from the mul- 
titudes of unburied dead becoming intole- 
rable, the bodies were dragged into the 
river, thrown into pits, or else collected to- 
gether in heaps, without distinction of Mus- 
sulman or Hindoo, and burned with the 
rubbish of the ruined houses, until all were 
disposed of. 

The sufferings of the wretched people of 
Delhi were not yet complete; the rapacity 
of Nadir afforded fresh cause for bloodshed- 
ding; aggravated by cruel tortures. The 
usurper sat on the imperial throne, receiv- 
ing costly offerings from the humiliated 
monarch and his degraded courtiers. He 
now demanded, under the name of peishcush 
{a gift), a sum stated at from twenty-five 
to thirty million sterling,* exclusive of the 
jewels, gold-plate set with gems, and other 
articles already appropriated. How to pro- 
vide this enormous ransom was a new diffi- 
culty ; for Mohammed Shah was far from 
inheriting the wealth of his ancestors. The 
prolonged wars of Aurungzebe, and the con- 
tinued struggles of his successors, had well 
nigh emptied the treasury ; and the present 
emperor had neither striven to replenish it 
by legitimate methods, nor, to his credit, be 
it recorded, by injustice or oppression. The 
jezia had been formally abolished at the 
commencement of his reign ; and he alone, 
of all the Great Moguls, had steadily re- 
fused to confiscate the property of deceased 

* Siyar-ul-Mutakherin ; on the authority of Haz- 
veen,an eye-witness; and Scott's Deccan, vol. ii., p. 208. 

t Bow's account of this period, though very in- 
teresting, is not deemed reliable; the rumours in 
circulation at the period, being too often suffered to 
usurp the place of carefully-sifted facts. This want 
of judgment is aggravated by the infrequency with 
which he gives authorities for particular statements. 
He describes Nadir Shah as having been invited to 
Hindoostan by Asuf Jah and Sadut Khan, and after- 
wards represents him as reproaching them for the 
treachery, by which he had gained the battle of Kur- 
naul, and spitting upon their beards. The nizam, see- 
ing the fury of Sadut at this public disgrace, proposed 
that they should end their lives by poison, which 
being agreed to, they returned to their respective 
homes. Sadut, doubting the sincerity of his wily 
colleague, sent a messenger to his house to discover 

nobles, leaving, not a small portion, as a 
matter of favour, for the maintenance of 
their families, but suffering the appropria- 
tion of the whole as a matter of right. The 
result was, that Mohammed Shah had com- 
paratively little to lose : even the famous 
peacock-throne, now seized by Nadir, had 
been deprived of its most costly ornaments ; 
and other portions of the imperial regalia 
were proportionately diminished in value. 
During: the administration of the Seveds, 
large sums had been abstracted from the 
treasury ; and even the gold and silver rails 
of the hall of audience had been coined 
into money. A large quantity of gold, 
silver, and jewels was found in vaults, 
sealed up long ago (probably by Shah 
Jehan), and immense sums were levied from 
the nobles. Neither the crafty nizam nor 
his treacherous rival, Sadut Khan, were 
exempted from furnishing their quota, the 
former being compelled to disgorge treasure 
exceeding in value a million and a-half 
sterling ; the latter, above a million ; while 
both were treated by the conqueror with un- 
disguised contempt and distrust. Sadut 
Khan died suddenly, whether from the 
effects of disease, anger, or poison, is an 
open question : the old nizam lived on, 
waiting for the turn of the wheel des- 
tined to restore to him that political power 
which was the sole end and aim of his 
existence. f The means of exacting the 
required tribute grew severe in proportion 
to the difficulty of its obtainment. The 
property of the nobles, merchants — even of 
the smallest tradesmen — was subjected to an 
arbitrary assessment, which, being frequently 
much above the actual value, impelled num- 
bers of all ranks to commit suicide, as a 
means of avoiding the disgrace and torture 
likely to follow their inability to furnish the 
amount required;! while others perished 

whether the oath had been carried into effect. Being 
made aware of the presence of the spy, the nizam 
swallowed an innoxious draught, and pretended to fail 
down dead. The trick succeeded ; Sadut Khan took 
poison, and died, leaving his rival to exult over his 
wicked device. — (Hindoostan, vol. ii., p. 425.) 

X The vakeel from Bengal, being ordered to send 
for seven crore of rupees, said, " so much would fill a 
string of waggons from Bengal to Delhi ; for which, 
being roughly used, he went home, and murdered him- 
self and family." (Fraser, p. 200.) The rough usage 
here alluded to was probably a severe bastinadoing ; 
since that punishment was frequently inflicted on 
men of station and character, by the orders and in 
the presence of Nadir Shah, whose partiality for this 
species of discipline is strange enough, since, if the 
authorities queted by Fraser may be relied on, he had 
been himself, in early youth, bastinadoed by the 


under the tortures inflicted by the merce- 
nary wretches to whom the power of extort- 
ing the tribute was farmed, and who made 
their own profit, or wreaked their private 
revenge unchecked, amid universal misery 
and desolation. " It was before a general 
massacre, but now the murder of individuals. 
In every chamber and house was heard the 
cry of affliction. Sleep and rest forsook the 
city.-''' The pangs of hunger and sickness 
were not long absent ; and " no morning 
passed that whole crowds, in every street 
and lane, did not die." * The citizens vainly 
strove to escape these multiplied calamities 
by flight ; the roads were blocked up ; and 
all such attempts punished by mutilation of 
the ears or nose ; until at length — the dignity 
of human nature subdued by terror — the 
wretched sufferers slunk away into holes 
and corners, and cowered down before their 
oppressors like the frightened animals of the 
desert. The Persian horsemen sallied forth 
in different directions, seeking provisions 
and plunder ; ravaging the fields, and killing 
all who offered resistance ; but were occasion- 
ally attacked by the Jats, who had taken up 
arms. Intelligence of what was passing at 
Delhi had reached the Deccan : it was even 
reported that 100,000 Persians were advanc- 
ing to the southward. Bajee Rao, undis- 
mayed, prepared to meet them, declaring, 
that domestic quarrels and the war with the 
Portuguese were to him as nought — there 
was now but one enemy in Hindoostan. 
" Hindoos and Mussulmans," he said, " the 
whole power of the Deccan must assemble ; 
and I shall spread our Mahrattas from the 
Nerbudda to the Chumbul." Nadir, how- 
ever, does not appear to have had any inten- 
tion of risking his rich booty by exposing it 
to the chances of Mahratta warfare. He 
contented himself with inveighing bitterly 
against the insolence of the infidel " wretches 
of Deccan," in venturing to demand tribute 
from the dominions of a Mussulman emperor, 
and the weakness of the government by which 
it had been conceded ; and then, having 
drained to the uttermost those very re- 
sources on which the means of resisting 

order of Shah Hussein, " until his toe-nails dropt off." 
However, it is doubtless true, that in forming an 
opinion regarding the use of the rod, it makes all the 
difference which end falls to our share. 

* Scott's History of the Deccan, vol. ii., p. 210. 
This description is quoted from a journal kept by an 
eye-witness, during this terrible epo^n. The work 
somewhat resembles De Foe's masterpiece — the 
Plague of London ; though the misery which it re- 
cords is of a far more varied character. 

similar extortion depended, he prepared to 
quit the desolated city. Before departing, 
he caused a marriage to be celebrated be- 
tween his son and a princess of the house 
of Timur, with a degree of regal magnifi- 
cence sadly at variance with the gloom and 
desolation which prevailed throughout the 
once stately capital. Seating Mohammed 
Shah anew on his dishonoured throne (after 
severing from the Mogul empire the whole 
of Sinde and Cabool, together with some 
districts that had always been set apart for 
the pay of the garrisons of the latter pro- 
vince), he placed the crown upon his head, 
and bade him keep strict watch over the 
intrigues and corruption of his courtiers — 
especially of Asuf Jah, who was too cunning 
and ambitious for a subject. To this advice 
he added an assurance, that in the event of 
any cabals, an appeal from Mohammed 
Shah would bring him to his assistance, 
from Candahar, in forty days ; and although 
this speech would, at first sight, appear only 
an additional insult, yet it is just possible, 
that it was dictated by a sort of compas- 
sionate feeling, which the misfortunes of 
the delicately-nurtured, indolent, and easy- 
tempered monarch had awakened in the 
breast of his victorious foe, whose mental 
characteristics contrasted no less forcibly 
than the extraordinary physical powers of 
his stalwart frame,f with the handsome but 
effeminate person and bearing of his victim. 
To the principal Hindoo leaders, including 
Jey Sing, Abhi Sing, Shao, and Bajee Rao, 
Nadir Shah issued circular-letters, bidding 
them " walk in the path of submission and 
obedience to our dear brother j" and threat- 
ening, in the event of their rebellion, to 
return and " blot them out of the pages of 
the book of creation."J On the 14th of 
April, 1739, the invader quitted Delhi, after 
a residence of fifty-eight days, bearing with 
him plunder in coin, bullion, gold and 
silver plate, brocades, and jewels (of which 
he was inordinately fond) to an incalculable 
extent. The money alone probably ex- 
ceeded thirty million. § Numerous elephants 
and camels were likewise carried away, as 

f Fraser's description of a weather-beaten man, of 
fifty-five — above six foot high, very robust, with large 
black eyes and eyebrows — exactly coincides with the 
full-length picture of Nadir Shah preserved in the 
India-house. His voice was so strong, that he could, 
without straining it, give orders to the troops at 
above 100 yards' distance. — (Fraser, p. 227.) 

% Scott's Deccan, vol. ii., p. 215. 

§ Scott, Fraser, and Hanway. The Nadir-nameh 
states it at only 15 million : but this is not probable. 



also many hundreds of skilful workmen and 
artificers. Exactions were levied in the 
towns and villages through which the re- 
treating army marched, until they reached 
Cabool, where the mountaineers threatened 
to attack them ; and Nadir, considering that 
the soldiers had suffered much from the 
intense heat, and were heavily laden with 
booty, thought it best to purchase forbear- 
ance, and reached Herat in safety, where he 
proudly displayed the spoils of Hindoostan.* 

Reign of Mohammed Shah resumed. — The 
Persian invasion had plunged the court and 
people of Delhi into a " slough of despond," 
from which it was long before they sum- 
moned sufficient resolution to attempt extri- 
cating themselves. The state of public 
affairs held forth no promise that future 
prosperity might make amends for past suf- 
fering; and the worst of all indications of 
the decadence of the empire, was the readi- 
ness with which the courtiers relapsed into 
the habits of sensuality and intrigue, that 
had rendered them impotent to resist the 
power of a foreign foe; while the lower 
classes, imitating their apathy, grew to re- 
gard the brutal excesses of the Persian 
soldiery, rather as a subject of coarse mer- 
riment than deep humiliation; and, in 
mimicking their dress and manners, gave 
vent to feelings no less different from what 
may be termed the natural dignity of un- 
civilised man, than from the magnanimous 
forgiveness of injuries, which is the very 
crown of Christian virtue. 

The influence of Asuf Jah was now su- 
preme at Delhi. He was supported by the 
vizier, Kamer-oo-deen, with whom he was 
connected by intermarriage, and by a few 
leading families, who being, like himself, of 
Turki descent, were called the Turani no- 
bles. He was secretly opposed by a large 
number of malcontents, among whom the 
emperor was thought to be included ; and thus 
the counsels of government were again weak 
and divided at a time when there was most 
need of energy and union. On the depar- 
ture of Nadir Shah, Bajee Rao sent a letter 

* A portable tent was constructed from the spoils ; 
the outside covered with scarlet broad cloth, and the 
inside with violet-satin, on which birds and beasts, 
trees and flowers, were depicted in precious stones. 
On either side the peacock-throne a screen extended, 
adorned with the figures of two angels, also repre- 
sented in various-coloured gems. Even the tent- 
poles were adorned with jewels, and the pins were of 
massy gold. The whole formed a load for seven 
elephants. This gorgeous trophy was broken up by 
Nadir Shah's nephew and successor, Adil Shah. — 

to the emperor, expressive of submission 
and obedience, together with a nuzur, or 
offering of 101 gold mohurs, and received in 
return a splendid khillut,f accompanied by 
assurances of general good-will, but not by 
the expected sunnud, or grant of the go- 
vernment of Malwa, an omission which the 
peishwa naturally attributed to a breach of 
faith on the part of the nizam. Had Bajee 
Rao, on this, as on previous occasions, 
chosen to advance to the gates of the capi- 
tal, and there insist on the confirmation of 
the agreement, he might have probably 
done so with impunity, so far as the Moguls 
were concerned ; for Nadir Shah had 
ravaged the only provinces which the Mah- 
rattas had left intact ; the imperial army 
was broken up, and the treasury completely 
empty. But Bajee Rao was himself in a 
critical position : hostilities abroad, intrigue 
at home, crippled his ambitious plans, and 
surrounded him with debt and difficulty. 
His foreign foes were the Abyssinians of 
Jinjeera, and the turbulent sons of Kanhojee 
Angria, of Kolabah, a powerful chief, whose 
piracies (which he called levying chout on 
the sea) had rendered him a formidable 
enemy to the Portuguese and English. 

After the death of Kanhojee, in 1728, a 
contest ensued between his sons. Bajee 
Rao took part with one of them, named 
Mannajee, whom the Portuguese also at 
first assisted ; but, being disappointed of the 
expected reward, changed sides, and ap- 
peared in arms against him. For this in- 
constancy they paid dearly by the loss of 
their possessions in Salsette, Bassein, and 
the neighbouring parts of the Concan ; and 
hostilities were still being carried on, when 
the tacit refusal of the Delhi government to 
recognise his claims, induced the peishwa 
to direct his chief attention to his old an- 
tagonist, the nizam. Before recommencing 
hostilities in this quarter, it was necessary to 
provide against the coalition of the prithee 
nidhee with other domestic foes (of whom 
the chief was Rugojee Bhonslay, of Be- 
rar,J and the next in importance, Dummajee 

{Memoirs of Khojeh Abdulkurreem, a Cashmerian of 
distinction, in the service of Nadir Shah. Gladwin's 
translation, Calcutta, 1788, p. 28.) 

f A khillut comprises a complete dress, or sir-pa 
(head to foot), with the addition of jewels, horse, 
elephant, and arms. 

J Parsojee, the founder of the Bhonslay family, 
from whom sprang the rajahs of Berar, being one of 
the first to tender allegiance to Shao on his release 
at the death of Aurungzebe, was promoted from the 
rank of a private horseman to high position. Not- 



Guicowar, of Guzerat), who, envying his 
power, were plotting its overthrow, under 
pretence of emancipating their mutual sove- 
reign. This difficulty Bajee Rao met by 
engaging the Bhonslay chief in a remote 
expedition into the Carnatic ; but another, 
of a different character, remained behind. 
The vast army he had kept up, and the 
necessity of giving high rates of pay, in 
order to outbid the nizam, and secure the 
best of the Deccan soldiery, had induced 
him to incur an expenditure which he had 
no means of meeting.* The troops were in 
arrears, and, consequently, clamorous and 
inclined to mutiny. His fiuancial arrange- 
ments would appear to have been far inferior 
to those of Sevajee ; and, as a nation, the 
Mahrattas, from various causes, no longer 
found war a profitable employment. Still, 
Bajee Rao persisted in endeavouring to 
carry out his ambitious designs, and taking 
advantage of the absence of the nizam, sur- 
rounded the camp of his second son, Nasir 
Jung, who had been left in charge of the 
viceroyalty. The defence was carried on 
with such unlooked-for vigour, that after 
some months of active hostility, the peishwa 
became convinced that his means were in- 
adequate to the task he had undertaken, 
and entered into an accommodation with 
his young and energetic opponent. The 
prudence of the general triumphed over the 
rash valour of the soldier; yet it was a 
moment when many in his position would 
have been inclined to struggle on ; for it 
would appear, that his retreat to court was 
cut off by the machinations which he had 
sought to circumvent by procuring the ab- 
sence of Rugojee Bhonslay. Addressing 
his mahapooroosh, or spiritual adviser, he 

•withstanding the coincidence of his surname with that 
of the rajah, they do not appear to have been related. 

* The soucars, or bankers, to whom he already 
owed a personal debt of many lacs of rupees, refused 
to make any further advances ; and he forcibly de- 
scribes his embarrassments, by declaring — " I have 
fallen into that hell of being beset by creditors ; and 
to pacify soucars and sillidars (military commanders), 
I am falling at their feet till I have rubbed the skin 
from my forehead" — a figurative expression, used in 
allusion to the Hindoo custom of placing the fore- 
head at the threshold of the temple, or at the feet 
of the idol, in humble supplication. 

t History of the Mahrattas, vol. i., p. 559. The 
manner of his death does not appear. 

\ Bajee Rao left three sons — Balajee Bajee Rao, 
Rugonat Rao, or Ragoba (who was at one time 
much connected with the English), and Shumsheer 
Bahadur, to whom, though the illegitimate offspring of 
a Mohammedan woman, and brought up in that creed, 
he bequeathed all his claims and possessions in Bun- 

writes — "1 am involved in difficulties, in 
debt, and in disappointments, and like a 
man ready to swallow poison : near the 
rajah are my enemies; and should I at this 
time go to Sattara, they will put their feet 
on my breast. I should be thankful if I 
could meet death."f After such an avowal, 
there is something strange and startling in 
the fact that Bajee Rao set off suddenly, 
with his army, towards Hindoostan, with 
what object is not known, but only lived to 
reach the Nerbudda, on whose banks he 
expired in April, 17404 

Rugojee Bhonslay, although about be- 
sieging Trichinopoly when he heard of the 
death of his rival, instantly hastened to 
Sattara; but being obliged to leave the 
greater part of his army behind him, had 
no sufficient force to cope with Balajee 
Bajee Rao, who asserted his hereditary 
claim to succeed to the office of his father ; 
neither was Dummajee Guicowar ready to 
take the field. In this conjuncture, Rugojee 
proposed that Bappoojee Naik,§ a connec- 
tion, but bitter foe (because a disappointed 
creditor of the late peishwa's), should be ap- 
pointed to the vacant position ; and very 
large sums were offered to Shao, on condi- 
tion of his seconding the arrangement. 

These attempts failed; and Balajee Bajee 
Rao was formally appointed by the rajah. 
Being answerable for his father's debts, 
he was immediately assailed by Bappoojee 
Naik with the harassing pertinacity fre- 
quently exercised by Mahratta creditors. |] 
From this persecution, his own efforts, ably 
seconded by the influence and credit of his 
dewan (treasurer, or high steward), relieved 
him; and, after more than a year spent in 
internal arrangements, he prepared to resist 

delcund. The names of the peishwas (first Balajee, 
then Bajee, and now Balajee Bajee, combined) will, 
it is to be feared, confuse the reader ; but the allite- 
ration is unavoidable. 

§ Brahmin soucars and money-changers assume 
the appellation of Naik. 

|| A species of dunning, called tuquazu, is practised 
as a trade. Several men, hired for the purpose, fol- 
low the debtor wherever he goes, and establish 
themselves at the door of his house, subsisting all 
the while upon the food with which the invariable 
custom of the country obliges him to supply them. 
If humble petitions and insolent demands alike fail, 
the creditor himself sometimes resorts to the last 
expedient (as Bappoojee Naik did in the present 
instance), by the practice of dhurna — that is, by 
taking up his position in person, as a dun, and ob- 
serving a rigid fast, in which his unfortunate debtor 
is compelled by that powerful agent, public opinion, 
to imitate him, even at the hazard of starvation, 
until he can induce him to raise the siege. 


the encroachments of inimical Mahratta 
chiefs, and to demand the government of 
Malwa from the Delhi court. 

In the interim, no endeavour had been 
made by the Mogul party in the Deccan to 
take advantage of the dissensions in the 
Mahratta state. The active viceroy, the 
successful opponent of Rajee Rao, had been 
fully occupied in rebellion against his own 
father, the nizam, who, in 1741, marched into 
the Deccan to oppose his refractory represen- 
tative, and received, during his progress, a 
personal visit from the new peishwa, together 
with the assistance of a body of troops. 

Rugojee Bhonslay, upon the failure of his 
political schemes at Sattara, returned to the 
Carnatic, and after the successful termination 
of the campaign, by the surrender of Trichi- 
nopoly and the capture of Chunda Sahib, 
the soubahdar (or, according to the English 
phrase, the nabob), he sent a force into Bengal 
under his Brahmin minister, Bhaskur Punt. 

At this period, the viceroyalty of Bengal 
was possessed by Ali Verdi Khan (some- 
times called Mohabet Jung.) This celebrated 
individual was of Turki descent, and had 
been promoted by Shuja Khan, the late 
viceroy, to the subordinate government of 
Behar. After his death, Ali Verdi turned 
his arms against Serferaz Khan, the son and 
successor of his late patron, slew him in 
battle, and usurped the government, for 
which he obtained an imperial firman by 
dint of large bribes and hypocritical as- 
surances of devoted submission. He made 
a determined resistance to Bhaskur Punt;* 
but, alarmed by the advance of Rugojee in 
person, he besought the emperor to assist 
him in the defence of the province ; and this 

* Ali Verdi Khan was encamped at Midnapore, 
■when he heard of the approach of Bhaskur Punt, at 
the head of 40,000 horse. He marched to Burdwan, 
and there strove to bring on a general engagement, 
•which the Mahrattas of course avoided, and ravaged 
the environs with fire and sword, offering, however, 
to evacuate the country on payment of ten lacs of 
rupees. This Ali Verdi refused ; and resolving to 
force his way to Moorshedabad, issued orders 
that the heavy baggage and camp-followers should 
remain at Burdwan. Instead of obeying, the people, 
terrified at the idea of being left to the mercy of the 
enemy, persisted in accompanying the retreating 
army; and the result was, that on the first day's 
maixh, the Mahrattas surrounded the line, and cap- 
tured the chief part of the stores, artillery, and tents. 
The sum previously demanded as the price of peace 
was offered, but rejected : Bhaskur Punt would now 
accept nothing less than a crore of rupees (a million 
sterling), with the surrender of all the elephants. 
Ali Verdi refused these degrading terms, and con- 
tinued his retreat, for three days, through a flat 

request resulted in an appeal for aid to the 
peishwa, seconded by the long- withheld grant 
of the viceroyalty of Malwa. 

Such an invitation would have been at all 
times welcome ; for the Mahrattas were in- 
variably solicitous to find excuses for inter- 
fering in the affairs of the various provinces 
still more or less subject to Mogul rule, and 
were ever labouring silently to increase their 
influence. In the present instance, Balajee 
Bajee was especially glad to be called in to 
act as an auxiliary against his private foe, 
and immediately marching by Allahabad 
and Behar, he reached Moorshedabad in 
time to protect it from Rugojee, who was 
approaching from the south-west. After 
receiving from Ali Verdi the payment of an 
assignment granted to him by the court of 
Delhi on the arrears of the revenue of 
Bengal, the peishwa marched against the 
invader, who retired before him, but was 
overtaken, and suffered a rout and the loss 
of his baggage before he was completely 
driven out of the province, a.d. 1743. The 
reprieve thus purchased for Bengal only 
lasted about two years; for the peishwa, 
who, in the name of his sovereign, Rajah 
Shao, wielded the power of the head of a 
confederacy of chiefs, rather than that of a 
despotic ruler, found it necessary to come 
to terms with Rugojee, by ceding to him the 
right of levying tribute in all Bengal and 
Behar, if not also in Allahabad and Oude. 
Bhaskur Punt was again sent to invade 
Bengal (1745), and proceeded with success, 
until he suffered himself to be inveigled 
into an interview with Ali Verdi Khan, by 
whom he was treacherously murdered. Of 
twenty-two principal officers, only one (Ru- 

country, amid heavy rains, constantly harassed by 
the enemy, and greatly distressed for food and shelter. 
On the fourth morning he reached Cutwa ; and al- 
though the foe had been beforehand with him, by 
setting on fire the magazines of grain, enough 
remained to afford means of subsistence to the 
famishing soldiery until further supplies could be 
procured. Yusuf Ali Khan, one of Ali Verdi's 
generals, states, that the first day of the march, 
he and seven nobles shared between them about one 
pound's-weight of kichery (boiled rice, mixed with 
pulse) ; the next, they had a few pieces of a sweet con- 
fection ; the third, a small quantity of carrion, which, 
while it was cooking, was eagerly watched by others, 
who could not be refused a single mouthful. The 
common soldiers strove to maintain life on the bark 
of trees, leaves, grass, and ants. — (See Siyar-ul- 
Mutahherin, done into English by a Frenchman, in 
3 vols. 4to.) This translation, though full of gallicisms, 
is of great value to inquirers on Indian history ; since 
the able labours of General Briggs, as yet, extend 
only over the first part of the first volume. 


gojee Guicowar) escaped, having been left 
in charge of the camp, and by him the army 
was conducted back to Berar. No long time 
elapsed before an opportunity to revenge 
this perfidious massacre arose, as a direct 
consequence of the crime itself; for Mustapha 
Khan, the leader of a body of Afghans who 
had borne the chief part in it, quarrelled 
with Ali Verdi for withholding the promised 
reward — namely, the government of Behar. 
Both parties were well aware that assassina- 
tion was an expedient likely enough to be 
attempted, and soon came to open hostilities, 
in which the Afghans supported their coun- 
trymen. Rugojee Bhonslay took advantage 
of this state of affairs to invade Orissa, where 
he obtained possession of several districts, 
and named 30,000,000 rupees as the sum 
for which he would spare the remainder, and 
quit the country. Before narrating the result 
of these proceedings, which occupied several 
years, it is necessary, for the sake of the 
chronological succession of events, to return 
to the court of Delhi. On the departure of 
Asuf Jah for the Deccan, a.d. 1741, his place 
at court was taken by his son, Ghazi-oo- 
deen, the son-in-law of the vizier, Kamer- 
oo-deen. These two nobles, being closely 
united by political and by domestic ties, re- 
sisted successfully many intrigues and com- 
binations; but they fought with the same 
unholy weapons that were employed against 
them. Treacherous and sanguinary deeds 
became frequent, offering unmistakable evi- 
dence of the weakness as well as wickedness 
of those who bore sway, and indicating to 
all accustomed to watch the decline of 
national power, its rapidly-approaching dis- 
solution. The only person who appears 
to have profited by the bitter medicine of 
adversity, was the emperor; he became a 
wiser and a better man : but long-continued 
habits of ease and indolence are not to be 
lightly broken ; and he gladly sought refuge 
in the devotion of the closet, from the cares, 
vexation, and intrigue which beset the 
council-chamber. Nevertheless, " while he 
lived, the royal name was respectable, and 
his prudence sustained the tottering fabric 
of the state from falling into total ruin ; but 
he could not repair the unwieldy fabric."* 

Of the various communities whose separate 
existence was more or less fostered at the 
expense of the empire, the only one against 
which Mohammed Shah took the field in 
person, after the departure of the Persians, 
was that founded bv the Rohillas, an Afghan 

* Scott's History of the Deccan, vol. ii, p. 223. 

colony, composed chiefly of Eusofzeis and 
other north-eastern tribes, who had acquired 
possession of the country east of the Ganges, 
from Oude to the mountains, and, under a 
chief named Ali Mohammed, had attained 
to so much importance, as to be with diffi- 
culty reduced to even temporary submission. 
Turbulent and rebellious as subjects, they 
were yet more dangerous as neighbours ; and 
scarcely had tranquillity been partially re- 
stored in the territory above designated, 
before a formidable combination of Afghans, 
in their own dominions, threatened India 
with another desolating irruption. The chief 
cause was an event which, above all others, 
would have been least expected to contribute 
to such a result — namely, the assassination 
of Nadir Shah, the spoiler of Hindoostan, 
whose leading share in the expulsion of the 
hated Afghan dynasty and victories over the 
Turks, had gained him a degree of renown 
which, despite his crimes, made him the 
boast of his subjects. On returning to Per- 
sia, he was received with the utmost enthu- 
siasm ; and the troops whom he had trained 
and led to conquest, gloried in the renown of 
their successful leader. At first, it appeared 
as if he were disposed to use his ill-gotten 
wealth for the relief and improvement of his 
kingdom ; but it soon became evident, that 
the hardening influence of rapine and 
slaughter had extinguished every better 
impulse, fostered his evil passions, and 
rendered the once enterprising adventurer 
nothing better than a cruel and capricious 
coward. Even his ability and energy in 
war seemed to fail; and his latest proceedings 
against the Turks evinced little of his early 
skill. When this contest was terminated by 
a treaty, Nadir Shah, no longer occupied by 
external hostilities, gave free vent to his 
fierce, savage, and dastardly nature, and 
instead of the boast, became the terror and 
execration of his country. All around him 
trembled for fear of becoming the object of 
suspicions which their slavish submission 
served only to increase. Among other 
atrocities, he accused his eldest son of having 
incited an attempt to kill him by a shot, 
which slightly wounded him while traversing 
a forest in one of his campaigns ; and, 
although there appeared no reason to think 
that the assassin was not one of the enemy, 
the unhappy prince was blinded at the com- 
mand of his still more unhappy father, who, 
in a paroxysm of gloom and remorse, subse- 
quently caused no less than fifty of his chief 
nobles to be put to death, because they had 


witnessed the execution of his wicked sen- 
tence without one prayer for mercy.* Covet- 
ousness was one of the distinguishing vices 
of his advancing age; and, instead of pursuing 
his avowed intention of relieving the Per- 
sians from the pressure of taxation by means 
of his enormous private wealth, he became 
extortionate and oppressive, as if ravaging a 
conquered territory. Disaffection and re- 
volts ensued, and afforded pretexts for 
fresh cruelties. Whole cities were depopu- 
lated; towers of heads raised to commemorate 
their ruin : eyes were torn out ; tortures in- 
flicted; and no man could count for a 
moment on his exemption from death in 
torments.t The mad fury of Nadir was 
aggravated by his knowledge of the angry 
feelings excited, at the time of his accession, 
by the prohibition of the Sheiah doctrines, 
and the confiscation of the lands and stipends 
of the priests, and his conviction that, after 
all, the people generally, maintained the for- 
bidden opinions. At length, he came to 
regard every Persian as his enemy, and 
entertained for his protection a band of 
Uzbeg mercenaries, placing his entire confi- 
dence on them and the Afghans, taking a 
delight in aggrandising these, his former 
enemies, at the expense of his own country- 
men. To such a height had his madness 
attained, that he actually ordered the Afghan 
chiefs to rise suddenly upon the Persian 
guard, and seize the persons of the chief 
nobles ; but the project being discovered, 
the intended victims conspired in turn ; and 
a body of them, including the captain of 
Nadir's guard, and the chief of his own tribe 
of Afshar, entered his tent at midnight, and 
after a moment's involuntary pause — when 
challenged by the deep voice at which they 
had so often trembled — rushed upon the 
king, who, being brought to the ground by 
a sabre-stroke, begged for life, and attempted 

* Elphinstone's India, vol. ii., p. 652. 

f The sole exception is that afforded by his desire to 
encourage commerce ; but even this was, for the most 
part, only another incentive to despotic and harsh 
measures. To foreign traders he, however, extended 
protection ; and Jonas Hanway, the eminent mer- 
chant, who visited his camp at a time when all Persia 
was devastated by his exactions, obtained an order 
that the property of which he had been plundered, 
during a rebellion at Asterabad, should be restored, 
or compensation given instead. 

% Elphinstone, vol. ii., p. 653, on the authority of 
Pere Bazin, a jesuit, who acted as physician to Nadir 
Shah during the last years of his life. Malcolm 
states, that being suddenly aroused from sleep, the 
king started up, and had slain two of the meaner 
assassins before a blow from Salah Beg, the captain 
of his guards, deprived him of life. 

to rise, but soon expired beneath the repeated 
blows of the conspirators. J 

With the morning light, the rumour oi 
this sanguinary deed spread alarm and 
amazement throughout the army. The 
Afghans, under the command of a young 
chief, named Ahmed Khan, the head of the 
Abdalli tribe, were joined by the Uzbegs in 
an effort made in the hope of being still in 
time to rescue Nadir Shah; but being re- 
pulsed, and finding that the Shah was really 
dead, they marched to Candahar, obtained 
possession of that city, and captured a large 
convoy of treasure on its way from Cabool 
and Sinde to the Persian treasury. Ali, 
the nephew of the murdered monarch, Avas 
placed on the vacant throne under the name 
of Adil Shah,§ and, during his short and 
inglorious reign, had probably neither the 
ability nor inclination to interfere with the 
proceedings of Ahmed Khan, who, having 
rapidly extended his influence over the 
neighbouring tribes and countries, including 
Balkh, Sinde, Cashmere, and other pre- 
viously-conquered provinces, was, in the 
course of a few months, formally declared 
king of Candahar. In the plains and cities 
he established absolute authority ; but the 
Afghan tribes retained their internal govern- 
ment : Beloochistan, Seestan, and some other 
places remained under their native chiefs, 
but owned allegiance and military service. 
Without, however, waiting the settlement of 
all the above-named countries, Ahmed Shah 
directed his attention to India as a means 
of employing his army and increasing his 
pecuniary resources. The coronation fes- 
tivities were scarcely concluded before he 
marched to the eastward, and, having rapidly 
subjugated all the territory as far as the 
Indus, proceeded to invade the Punjaub. 
The viceroy being in revolt, could claim no 
aid from the Delhi government ; and Ahmed, 

§ To assuage the fears of the guilty chiefs by 
whom he was raised to the throne, Adil Shah pub- 
licly but falsely declared, that he had himself incited 
the deed by which Persia had been relieved from the 
curse of a despot, who delighted in blood. This 
character was equally applicable to himself ; for he 
slew the unfortunate blind prince, B,eza Kooli, and 
thirteen of Nadir's sons and grandsons, sparing only 
Shah Bokh, a lad of fourteen, who was afterwards 
protected in his residence at Meshhed, by Ahmed 
Shah, who possessed dependencies immediately to 
the east of that city. All the assassins of Nadir did 
not escape with impunity ; for the Afshar leader, 
having incurred the displeasure of Adil Shah, was 
delivered over to the vengeance of the female rela- 
tives of the murdered monarch, by whom he was cut 
to pieces. — (Malcolm's History of Persia, vol. ii., 
p. 56.) 


with little difficulty, triumphed over the 
feeble opposition offered to his usurpations, 
and occupied Lahore and other towns on 
the road to the Sutlej. News of his approach 
had reached the court, and Prince Ahmed, 
the heir-apparent, with Kamer-oo-deen, the 
vizier, at the head of the Mogul army, were 
sent to arrest his progress.*" They had taken 
possession of the fords of the Sutlej ; but the 
Candahar king, despite the inferior number 
of his troops, resolved to force a passage; 
and having succeeded in crossing at an 
unguarded, because unfordable part, left the 
enemy in his rear, and advancing against 
Sirhind, captured that place, together with 
the baggage, stores, and guns deposited 
therein. The Moguls, intimidated by the 
rapidity of these movements, intrenched their 
camp, soon after which the vizier was shot 
by a cannon-ball ; but the army continued 
to repel the assaults of the Dooranis (as the 
Abdallis were now termed),! and on the 
tenth day succeeded in effecting their com- 
plete defeat, obliging them to march off 
homeward during the ensuing night. 

Mohammed Shah expired within a month 
of this victory (a.d. 1748), and his only son, 
Ahmed, ascended the throne. For the first 
time from the commencement of the Indian 
annals of the house of Timur — in the be- 
ginning of the 15th century — the succession 
was uncontested. J In truth, it was a woe- 
ful heritage — little to be coveted by the 
most ambitious pretender. 

Reign of Ahmed Shah. — The events of the 
next eighteen years can scarcely be woven 
into a connected narrative. The Great 
Mogul is no longer the chief feature in the 
picture ; his proceedings have ceased to 
form the centre around which all other inci- 
dents could be easily and naturally grouped ; 
the governors of provinces, from simple ser- 
vants of the crown, having become indepen- 
dent powers, whose assistance their nominal 
sovereign was glad to purchase, at any cost, 
to ward off a foreign foe. 

After the battle of Sirhind, the victor sent 
a governor to the Punjaub, believing that 

* Elphinstone states his force at 12,000 men; 
Elliot's Hqfiz Hehmet at 15,000; but the Siyar-ul- 
Mutakherin at 67,000 horse. 

j- By the advice of a dervish, who had predicted 
his future greatness, Ahmed assumed the title of 
Door-dowran (the pearl of the age) ; and the Abdalli 
tribe took, the name of Doorani. 

% The accession of Jehangeer can scarcely be 
deemed an exception, since opposition was attempted 
before the death of Akber; and by Prince Khoorum 
■within four months after. 

2 A 

important province secured to the empire by 
the retreat of the Afghan monarch ; but this 
latter, on learning that the prince had been 
recalled to Delhi, by the illness of his father, 
turned back before he had reached the 
Indus, and forced from the newly-appointed 
viceroy an engagement to pay a permanent 
tribute. Ahmed Shah, anxious to form 
connections which should enable him to 
provide against the incursions of his turbu- 
lent neighbour, offered the " ink-stand of the 
vizierat"§ to Asuf Jah, who had become 
reconciled to his son, Nasir Jung, and wa^ 
employed in consolidating his own power 
over the territories in the Deccan, conquered 
with so much difficulty by the most powerful 
of the house of Timur, and so easily snatched 
from their feeble descendants. The nizam 
declined the proffered office, on account of 
his great age, and died, shortly after, at 
Boorhanpoor, in his ninety-sixth year. j| 

Nasir Jung assumed his father's govern- 
ment, and Sufdur Jung (son and successor 
of Sadut Khan) became vizier, on condition 
of retaining likewise the viceroyalty of 
Oude. In the northern part of that pro- 
vince, the Rohillas had again become for- 
midable, and the efforts of the imperial 
force were directed to their suppression. 
Sufdur Jung acted in this matter with 
shameless ingratitude,^" and his ill-dis- 
ciplined troops sacked their own town 
of Bara (famous for being peopled by 
Seyeds), and massacred such of the inhabi- 
tants as attempted resistance. The Ro- 
hillas, though greatly inferior in number, 
gained a complete victory; wounded the 
vizier, set the imperial power at defiance, 
and penetrated to Allahabad. In this emer- 
gency, the common error was committed of 
avoiding one danger by incurring another 
involving greater, though less immediate 
hazard. Mulhar Rao Holcar, and Jeiapa 
Sindia, had been recently sent to Malwa by 
the peishwa : to them Sufdur Jung now 
applied for aid; as also to Suraj Mul, rajah 
of the Jats. With these auxiliaries, he de- 
feated the Rohillas, in a pitched battle ; 

§ An ornamented ink-stand, or rather ink-horn, is 
the insignia of office worn by viziers. 

|| Or 104 lunar years, according to the Moham- 
medan mode of computation ; their years consisting 
of 13 months — of 28 days 6 hours each. 

^[ He induced Kaium Khan Bungush, the Afghan 
.governor of Furruckabad, to conduct the war against 
his own countrymen. Kaium was slain in battle, 
and his employer strove to dispossess the widow of 
the chief part of her legitimate possessions, but with 
no avail; for the people rose upon his representative, 


drove tliem into the lower branches of the 
Himalaya, abont the Kumaon range, which 
forms their north-eastern boundary, and by 
authorising the Mahrattas to levy the pro- 
mised subsidy on the conquered territory, 
soon reckiced his foes to such straits for sub- 
sistence, that they submitted on the sole 
condition of receiving the assignment of a 
few villages for their chiefs. 

In the Deccan many important changes 
had occurred since 1745, when Rugojee 
Bhonslay, taking advantage of the rebellion 
of Mustapha Khan, had invaded Orissa. The 
defeat of the Afghans, and the fall of their 
leader, in an attempt to obtain possession of 
Behar,relieved Ali Verdi from one dangerous 
foe, and enabled him to direct his efforts to 
the expulsion of the Mahrattas. In this un- 
dertaking he was less successful ; driven off 
at one point, they attacked another, fighting 
ever in true Cossack* style, until Ali Verdi, 
in 1751, weary of beholding his fertile plains 
desolated by their incursions, and possibly 
influenced by the craving for quiet, natural 
to the old age of even men of war, bought 
off the invaders by the cession of Cuttack 
(the southern division of Orissa), and an en- 
gagement for the annual payment of twelve 
lacs of rupees, as the chout of Bengal and 
Behar. This very inadequate sum, Rugo- 
jee was doubtless induced to accept by the 
necessity of returning to the Deccan, where 
the renewal of internal strife among the 
Mahrattas, and the quarrels and intrigues of 
the sons of Asuf Jah, together with the am- 
bitious projects of M. Bussy, the French 
leader, warned every wandering chief to 
guard his home interests. 

The death of Shao, in 1750, gave the 
expected signal for a struggle between the 
peishwa and his rivals. The rajah was 
childless, and had not complied with the 
Hindoo custom of adopting an heir. His 
wife, Sawatri Bye, an intriguing and ambi- 
tious woman, had strongly urged the claims 
of the nearest relative, the rajah of Kola- 
poor ; but Shao, who, after remaining for 
some years in a state of imbecility, had 
shortly before his death recovered his 
senses, rejected this candidate, because he 
also was without offspring, and declared 
that he had received a private intimation 

and called in the Rohillas, against ■whom the vizier 
took the field in person. — (Scott, vol. ii., p. 225.) 

* The Mahrattas have borrowed this term from 
the Moguls, finding it perfectly applicable to their 
favourite mode of warfare. 

t Of the annual revenue, estimated at about 

of the existence of a posthumous son of 
Sevajee II., who had been concealed by 
Tara Bye. The story sounded sufficiently 
improbable : but the peishwa and Tara Bye 
agreed in asserting its truth ; and the former 
procured from the rajah an instrument, 
transferring to him all the powers of the 
government, on condition of his maintaining 
the royal dignity in the house of Sevajee, 
through its newly-discovered representative 
and his descendants. Whether this docu- 
ment was authentic or not, the peishwa 
acted as if it had been so, by placing the 
alleged grandson of Tara Bye on the throne, 
with the title of Ram Raja, and by removing 
all obstacles to his own supremacy either by 
force, fraud, or bribery. The prithee nidhee 
was seized and thrown into prison, and 
Sawatri Bye goaded into performing suttee, 
in accordance with her own declaration, 
made before her husband's death, to dis- 
guise her real designs. Rugojee Bhonslay, 
who was anxious to prosecute his annual 
incursions into Bengal — not having then 
come to the above-mentioned agreement 
with Ali Verdi — formally acknowledged the 
succession of Ram Raja, receiving, in return, 
a portion of the confiscated lands of the 
prithee nidhee, and other concessions ; 
while the good-will of Holcar and Sindia 
was secured by assignments of almost the 
entire revenue of Malwa.f Believing his path 
now clear, Balajee Bajee left the rajah at 
Sattara, under the control of Tara Bye, and 
starting from Poona, to which place he 
had before transferred his residence, and 
which may be henceforth considered as the 
Mahratta capital, proceeded to take part in 
the civil war that had broken out between 
the sons of the late nizam. He was speedily 
recalled to Delhi by the machinations of 
Tara Bye, who, having vainly endeavoured 
to induce her weak and timid grandchild to 
assert his independence, and set aside the 
dominant influence of the peishwa, vehe- 
mently declared, that she believed he was, 
after all, no true descendant of Sevajee, but 
a base-born Gonedulee, J having been 
changed, at nurse, by the cottagers to 
whose charge he had been confided ; then 
throwing him into a damp, stone dungeon, 
with the coarsest grain doled out as food, 

£1,500,000, £750,000 was allotted to Holcar; 
£650,000 to Sindia; and £100,000 to Puar and 
other chiefs. — (Duff's Mahrattas, vol. ii., p. 40.) 
+ The Gonedulees are a low cast of musicians, in 
I the house of one of whom Rajah Ram (according to 
the statement of Tara Bye) had been first eoncealed. 


the old virago assumed the government in 
her own name, and called in the assistance 
of Dummajee Guicowar, who had previously 
refused to acknowledge the succession of 
Ram Rajah. Dummajee was treacherously 
captured by the peishwa at a pretended 
friendly interview, and his army completely 
dispersed. TaraBye proved a more trouble- 
some opponent, being regarded by the people 
as the rightful regent ; besides which, popular 
superstition attributed to her the possession 
of supernatural power ; but whether she was 
a deo or a dyt — that is, a good or an evil 
spirit — was a disputed point, though one on 
which most persons, acquainted with her 
character and history, would scarcely enter- 
tain much doubt. 

At Delhi, another revolution was impend- 
ing. During the absence of the vizier in 
Rohilcund, the Doorani king had extorted 
from the emperor the cession of the Punjaub ; 
and this arrangement, though it would seem 
to have been almost inevitable, the vizier 
made the pretext for insult and reproach; 
and soon after, vented his jealous spleen by 
the assassination of Jaweed, a eunuch much 
favoured by the emperor and his mother, at 
a banquet to which the victim had been 
purposely invited. Exasperated by this out- 
rage, Ahmed Shah turned to the ameer- 
ool-omra for aid against the vizier. This 
young man, named Shaab-oo-deen,'* was 
grandson to Asuf Jah, and had inherited too 
much of his ancestor's unprincipled am- 
bition to hesitate taking any part that pro- 
mised to gratify his dominant passion ; he, 
therefore, gladly sided with the emperor 
against the very man whose patronage had 
placed him in an influential position. A 
civil war ensued, determined not by one 
great battle, but carried on for six months 
in daily combats in the streets, during which 
time the vizier being a Sheiah, and his oppo- 
nent a Sunni, the war-cry of their respective 
adherents was the test-word of either sect. 
Becoming wearied of this unprofitable con- 
test, the rival ministers came to terms ; and 
the unhappy monarch, betrayed by both, 
made an effort to assert his independence ; 
but being captured by the Mahratta auxili- 
aries of his treacherous servants, under 
Mulhar Rao, was delivered over into the 
hands of the ameer-ool-omra, by whom he 
was deposed and blinded, together with the 
queen his mother, a.d. 1754. 

* He also bore his father's and grandfather's title 
of Ghazi-oo-deen ; but to avoid confusion, I have 
adhered to his original appellation. 

Alumgeer II. — Under this name a prince 
of the blood was placed on the vacant throne 
by Shaab-oo-deen, who, upon the death of 
the vizier, which happened about this 
time (at Lucknow, the capital of Oude), took 
upon himself the vacant office, and soon 
afterwards marched towards Lahore, secretly 
hoping to take advantage of the state of 
affairs in the Punjaub. Upon the death 
of the Mogul governor, whom Ahmed Shah 
had continued in his office after the cession, 
his infant son had been appointed to the 
viceroyalty under the tutelage of his mother. 
It so happened, that Shaab-oo-deen had been 
affianced to the daughter of the late viceroy, 
and he now approached on pretence of claim- 
ing his bride. The marriage festivities were in 
course of celebration, when a sudden attack 
was made upon the town, and the governess 
captured in her bed. While being conveyed 
to the camp, she vehemently denounced the 
treachery which had been practised, declar- 
ing, that the vengeance of Ahmed Shah 
would be swift and terrible. Her prediction 
was verified : the Doorani king inarched 
rapidly from Candahar, passed through the 
Punjaub without opposition, and advanced 
upon Delhi to enforce his demand of pecu- 
niary compensation. The culprit escaped 
through the intercession of his mother-in- 
law, whom he had contrived to conciliate ; 
but the devoted city was again given over 
to pillage and slaughter, Ahmed Shah, if 
willing, being quite unable to restrain the 
excesses of his soldiery. A detachment 
was sent into Bengal to levy a contribution, 
and Ahmed proceeded in person to Agra, 
against the Jats, with a similar object. The 
troops enforced his exactions by the most 
barbarous methods, and found, in bigotry, 
an excuse and incentive for the indulgence 
of their natural ferocity. The ancient and 
venerated city of Muttra was surprised dur- 
ing the celebration of a religious festival, and 
the defenceless worshippers massacred with- 
out distinction of sex or age. 

Happily, the career of these destroyers 
was stopped by the excessive heat, which 
occasioned an alarming mortality among 
them, and compelled Ahmed Shah to re- 
nounce the siege of the citadel of Agra, 
which was defended by a Mogul governor, 
and be content with the money already 
levied. Before returning to his own terri- 
tories, he married a princess of the house 
of Timur, and affianced another to his son, 
afterwards Timur Shah. He also caused an 
able and enterprising Rohilla chief, named 


Nujeeb-oo-dowla, to be appointed arneer- 
ool-omra at the especial request of the 
emperor, who hoped to find in him a coun- 
terpoise against his intriguing vizier. This 
scheme failed ; for Shaab-oo-deen called in 
the assistance of the Mahrattas, under 
Ragoba (brother to the peishwa), who had 
recently acquired notoriety by his proceed- 
ings in Guzerat, and in levying contributions 
on the Rajpoot states. Thus aided, the 
vizier forcibly re-established his paramount 
influence in Delhi, the prince, afterwards 
Shah Alum, having first escaped to a place 
of safety, and Nujeeb to his own country 
about Seharunpoor, to the north of Delhi. 

The ascendancy of his ally being se- 
cured, Ragoba next turned his attention to 
the Punjaub, where a turbulent chief, named 
Adina Beg, whose whole career had been a 
series of intrigues, was plotting the over- 
throw of Ahmed Shah's sway by means of 
the Sikhs, who, during the late disorders, 
had again become considerable. Ragoba, 
seeing in this disorganisation the promise 
of an easy conquest, marched to Lahore 
(May, 1758), and took possession of the 
whole of the Punjaub, the Dooranis retiring 
across the Indus without hazarding a battle. 
The death of Adina Beg threw the power 
wholly into the hands of the Mahrattas, 
who now began to talk unreservedly of 
their plans for the obtainment of unques- 
tioned supremacjr over the whole of Hin- 
doostan. These pretensions, though little 
likely to be vigorously contested by the no- 
minal emperor, were opposed to the interests 
of various individuals, especially of Shuja- 
oo-dowla, who had succeeded his father, 
Sufdur Jung, in the government of Oude, 
and who now joined his hereditary foes, 
Nujeeb-oo-dowla and the Rohillas, against 
the common enemy. The first result of 
this alliance was the invasion of Rohilcund 
by the Mahrattas, and the destruction of 
1,300 villages in little more than a month : 
but Shuja marched from Lucknow to the 
relief of his allies, and drove the invaders, 
with heavy loss, across the Ganges, obliging 
their leader, Duttajee Sindia, to conclude a 
peace, which he did the more readily on 
account of the reported approach of Ahmed 
Shah from Cabool. 

The retaliation of the Afghan ruler for 
the expulsion of his son from the Punjaub, 
had been retarded by the attempt of Nadir 
Khan, chief of the Beloochees, to establish his 
entire independence ; but this question was 
no sooner settled than Ahmed, for the fourth 

time, invaded India (September, 1759), ad- 
vancing by the southern road of Shikarpoor 
to the Indus, and marching along its banks 
to Peshawer, where he crossed the river and 
entered the Punjaub. The Mahrattas offered 
no obstacle ; and he continued his progress 
towards Delhi, avoiding the swollen rivers, 
keeping near the northern hills until he 
passed the Jumna, opposite Seherunpoor. 

The approach of the Afghans greatly 
alarmed the vizier, who, conscious of the 
friendly feeling existing between Ahmed 
Shah and the emperor, thought to remove 
an obstacle from his path, and ensure a safe 
tool, by causing the assassination of Alum- 
geer II., and hurrying from the palace-prison 
of Selimghur to the throne, another ill- 
fated descendant of Aurungzebe. 

Extinction of Mogul power. — The title of 
the prince brought forward by Shaab-oo- 
deen was never recognised; and the heir- 
apparent (Shah Alum) being, happily for 
himself, beyond the reach of his father's 
murderer, the strange confederacy of Mo- 
guls, Mahrattas, and Jats, against Doorani 
and Rohilla Afghans, had no crowned leader 
whose uncontested supremacy could afford a 
bond of union to all concerned. 

At this crisis, the question naturally arises 
— where were the Rajpoots, and how occu- 
pied, at an epoch so favourable for the 
assertion of national independence and in- 
dividual aggrandisement? Their eloquent 
historian, Colonel Tod, candidly admits, that, 
absorbed in civil strife, enfeebled by luxury, 
degraded by intrigue — their position, in no 
small degree, resembled that of the once 
powerful dynasty, whose most distinguished 
members they had opposed so bravely, or 
served so loyally. Yet, even had Mewar 
possessed a rana able and energetic as Pertap 
or Umra — Marwar, a rajah like Jeswunt or 
Ajeet ; or Amber (Jeypoor), like Maun or 
Jey Sing, it is still not probable that 
Rajast'han would have become the nucleus 
of a Hindoo empire. The characteristics of 
feudal confederacies are, under any circum- 
stances, scarcely consistent with compre- 
hensive and enlightened patriotism ; and the 
temporary alliances between Rajpoot states, 
formed in an hour of mutual peril, were 
thrown aside as soon as their immediate 
cause was removed. The spirit of clanship, 
unrestrained by higher and holier princi- 
ples, prompted in proud and ardent breasts 
many deeds which, at the first glance, seem 
grand and heroic, but when tried by the 
standard of Christian law, severe in its sim- 


plicity, are found to be fair-seeming fruit 
rotten at the core. To raise the honour of 
a clan — to humble a rival — to avenge an 
affront — these were objects to be gained at 
any cost of blood or treasure, and without 
regard to the character and true interest of 
the state. It was by taking advantage of the 
opportunities thus offered, and by becoming 
partisans in disputed successions, that the 
Mahrattas, as much by stratagem as by 
force, were enabled to levy chout over all 

The Mahratta power was now at its 
zenith. The whole territory, from the Indus 
and Himalaya, on the north, to nearly the 
extremity of the Peninsula, was either sub- 
jugated or tributary. The authority of the 
peishwa had become absolute, Tara Bye 
having, though ungraciously enough, been 
compelled to enter into terms of peace. She 
still, however, persisted in retaining the un- 
fortunate Rajah Ram in rigorous confine- 
ment, a measure which entirely coincided 
with the views of the wily Brahmin, who 
ensured its continuance by perpetually so- 
liciting its revocation. The army, no longer 
composed of predatory bands, now included 
a large body of well-paid and well-mounted 
cavalry, 10,000 infantry, and a train of artil- 
lery. Nor were external signs of increasing 
wealth and dominion wanting. The pomp 
which had characterised the palmy days of the 
Delhi court, together with much of the cere- 
monial of Rajpoot states, was now observed 
at Poona; and the peishwa and inferior 
ministers, possessing the comely forms and 
courteous manners common among Concan 
Brahmins, bore their new-fledged honours 
with natural dignity. The case was very 
different with the field-officers, who, by ex- 
changing the rude but picturesque garb and 
homely manners of former days, for the 
cumbersome attire and wearisome conven- 
tionalities, in which they rather caricatured 
than copied the Moguls, not only rendered 
themselves ridiculous, but really lost much 
efficiency in vain attempts to assume a 
stateliness of demeanour in correspondence 
with the cloth-of-gold uniforms in which 
their short, sturdy, active, little bodies were 
now encased. Their love of plunder had, 
however, undergone no change : they even 
seemed to have become more extortionate 

* The Bhow, or brother, is a term commonly ap- 
plied by the Mahrattas to cousins German. 

t Ragoba remained in the Deccan, having given 
offence by his improvidence in previous campaigns. 

X The J ats (who, according to Tod, are " assuredly 

in proportion to their growing passion for 
ostentatious display. Their conduct, at this 
epoch, brought its own punishment ; for, 
although there were 30,000 Mahratta horse 
in the field, in two bodies, at some distance 
from each other, when the Dooranis crossed 
the Jumna, the country people, exasperated 
by their depredations, kept them in com- 
plete ignorance of the movements of the 
enemy. Ahmed Shah was consequently 
enabled to prevent their junction ; and, 
coming suddenly on the body under Dut- 
tajee Smdia, slew that chief and two-thirds 
of his force, while the other division was 
overtaken and almost destroyed by a de- 
tachment which had made an extraordinary 
march for that purpose. The news of this 
inauspicious commencement of the war, 
enraged but did not dispirit the Mahrattas, 
who prepared for a desperate and decisive 
encounter. The command of the assembled 
force was given to the peishwa's cousin, 
Sewdasheo Rao Bhow, commonly called the 
Bhow,* a brave soldier, but too violent and 
headstrong for a safe general. He was ac- 
companied by Wiswas Rao, the youthful 
son and heir-apparent of the peishwa, 
and by almost all the leading Mahratta 
chiefs. f The pressing necessity of uniting 
to repel the common foe of the Hin- 
doos, seems to have aroused even the Raj- 
poots from their apathy, and induced them 
to lay asid e their private quarrels ; for seve- 
ral Rajpoot detachments were sent to join 
the Mahratta force on its march from the 
Deccan, and Suraj Mul came to meet them 
with 30,000 Jats. This experienced old 
chief beheld with dismay the gorgeous ap- 
pearance of the advancing cavalcade, and 
earnestly entreated the Bhow to leave his 
heavy baggage, infantry, and guns, under 
the protection of the strong forts in the Jat 
territory, and practise the same tactics 
which had so often proved successful; 
urging, that if the war could only be pro- 
tracted, the Dooranis, who had been already 
many months in India, would probably be 
constrained by the climate to withdraw to 
their native mountains. This judicious 
counsel, though seconded by the Mahratta 
chiefs, was haughtily rejected by their com- 
mander, who affected to despise the Jats; J 
treated Suraj Mul as a petty zemindar, 

a mixture of the Rajpoot and Yuti, Jit, or Jete races") 
formed the chief part of the agricultural popula- 
tion of Agra in the reign of Aurungzebe, by whose 
persecutions they were driven to rebel and elect 
Choramun for their leader and rajah. 


incapable of judging of politics on a large 
scale; and marched on, in defiance of all 
counsel, with his whole force to Delhi, which 
was held by a small garrison of Dooranis and 
their partisans, Ghazi-oo-deen having sought 
refuge in the Jat country. The citadel 
yielded after a feeble defence. The Bhow 
triumphantly entered the ill-fated capital; 
defaced the palaces, tombs, and shrines, for 
the sake of the rich ornaments which had 
been spared by the Persians and Afghans ; 
tore down the silver ceiling of the hall of 
audience (which was coined into seventeen 
lacs of rupees) ; seized the throne, and all 
other royal ornaments ; and even talked of 
proclaiming Wiswas Rao emperor of India. 
Disgusted and alarmed by these rash and 
grasping proceedings, Suraj Mul returned 
to his own territory, and the Rajpoots like- 
wise withdrew from the confederacy. Ahmed 
Shah passed the rainy season on the fron- 
tier of Oude, and during that time suc- 
ceeded in procuring the co-operation of 
Shuja-oo-dowla. He then marched rapidly 
towards Delhi, and on reaching Cunjpoora, 
on the Jumna, learned that the Doorani 
garrison stationed there had been captured 
by the enemy, and put to the sword. In a 
paroxysm of rage, the Shah, thirsting for 
revenge, crossed the river between fording 
and swimming ; and this impetuous act, by 
which many lives were sacrificed, so asto- 
nished the Mahrattas, that they retired to 
Paniput, and intrenched their camp. 

The force of Ahmed Shah was computed 
at less than 100,000 men; that of his oppo- 
nent at 300,000, including followers* This 
disparity prevented the invader from ven- 
turing an attack, and induced him to en- 
camp, and fortify his position. For three 
months the hostile armies remained face to 
face, without coming to any decisive en- 
gagement. During that time the state of 
affairs underwent a material change. The 
Mahrattas at first endeavoured to provoke 
an attack, by cutting off the supplies of the 
Doorani camp ; and with this object a chief, 
named Govind Rao Bondela, was ordered to 
collect troops on the lower course of the 
Jumna, and spread over the country in the 

* The Bhow's force consisted of 55,000 cavalry, in 
regular pay, with at least 15,000 predatory Mahratta 
horse, and 15,000 infantry ; of whom, 9,000 were 
disciplined sepoys, under Ibrahim Khan Gardi, a 
Mussulman deserter from the French service. He 
had 200 guns, with numerous wall-pieces, and a great 
supply of rockets, which is a favourite weapon with 
the Mahrattas. These troops, with their immediate 
followers, made the numbers within his lines amount 

Mahratta fashion. Govind Rao obeyed, and 
levied 10,000, or 12,000 men, who proved 
very successful plunderers, until their leader 
was surprised in a mango-grove and cut off, 
with about a thousand followers, by a body 
of horse, who had come upon them, after 
performing a march of sixty miles. Other 
disasters followed ; and, at length, all means 
of forage being cut off, Ahmed Shah suc- 
ceeded in establishing a rigid blockade; and 
the resources of the town of Paniput, which 
was within the lines, being quite exhausted, 
the pressure of want began to be severely felt ; 
and, from clamouring for arrears of pay, the 
Mahrattas now began to lack daily food. 
Cooped up amidst the stench of a besieged 
camp, among dead and dying animals, sur- 
rounded by famished followers, the once 
mighty host grew weaker daily ; and, to the 
dispiriting influences of physical evils, the 
knowledge of the dissensions between the 
Bhow, Holcar, and minor chiefs, added 
greatly. The position of Ahmed Shah was 
one of considerable difficulty; but he rejected 
the overtures of peace made through the 
intervention of Shuja-oo-dowla, judging, 
by the impatience and weariness of his own 
troops, of the condition of the foe, and feel- 
ing convinced that they would soon be 
driven into quitting their intrenchments, as 
the only alternative from starvation. Mean- 
while he kept a vigilant guard, visiting his 
posts, reconnoitring the enemy, and riding 
fifty to sixty miles a- day. Among the last 
efforts of the besieged, was the dispatch of a 
party, with innumerable camp-followers, on 
a midnight foraging expedition. The at- 
tempt was discovered by the watchful picket 
stationed by Ahmed Shah, and the defence- 
less crowd were surrounded and slaughtered 
in prodigious numbers. On this, the chiefs 
and soldiers called upon the Bhow to put an 
end to their sufferings and suspense, by 
leading them to the attack. The necessary 
orders were given; the last grain in store 
distributed among the famishing troops ; 
and, an hour before day-break, the Mah- 
rattas quitted their intrenchments, marching 
forth with the ends of their turbans loosened, 
and their hands and faces dyed with turmeric; 

to 300,000 men. Ahmed Shah had about 4,000 
Afghans and Persians, 13,000 Indian horse, and a 
force of Indian infantry, estimated at 38,000, of which 
the part consisting of Rohilla Afghans would be very 
efficient ; but the great majority, the usual rabble 
of Indian foot-soldiers. He had, also, about thirty 
pieces of cannon of different calibres, chiefly be- 
longing to the Indian allies, and a number of 
wall-pieces. (Elphinstone, vol. ii., p. 679.) 



their gait and expressions bespeaking vic- 
tims prepared for sacrifice, rather than war- 
riors hoping for conquest. The sight of the 
foe revived their courage ; a fierce onslaught 
was made on the centre of the Mohammedan 
army; and a general encounter followed, 
which lasted in unabated violence until noon 
■ — the field of action being one mass of dust 
and confusion, the combatants fighting hand 
to hand, and the shrieks and groans of the 
dying drowned by the incessant "Allah!" 
and "Deen \" of the Mohammedans, and the 
"Hur! Hur! Mahdeo \" of the Mahrattas. 
Up to this period, victory seemed to incline 
to the latter party ; but a reserve, sent for- 
ward by Ahmed Shah, who, from his little 
red tent, had eagerly watched the engage- 
ment, decided the fortune of the day. The 
Bhow and Wiswas were slain.* Holcar and 
Dummajee Guicowar quitted the field ; and 
" all at once, as if by enchantment, the 
whole Mahratta army turned their backs, 
and fled at full speed." f The victors pur- 
sued them with the utmost fury, giving no 
quarter, and slaying without mercy all who 
fell into their hands. Men, women, and 
children crowded into the town of Paniput, 
where they were blockaded for the night, 
and the next morning divided into allot- 
ments by their barbarous captors, the 
women and children being taken for slaves, 
the men ranged in lines, and prevented 
from fainting by a few grains of parched 
corn, and a little water poured into the 
palms of their hands preparatory to their 
decapitation ; after which, their heads were 
piled around the door3 of the tents,! as 
fitting trophies of what men call "a glorious 
victory." These atrocities Ahmed Shah 
made no effort to restrain ; but, on the 
contrary, sanctioned by example the cold- 
blooded massacre of the most distinguished 
prisoners, among whom was Jancojee Sindia, 

* The body of Wiswas Rao was brought to the 
tent of the Shah, where the whole camp assembled 
to look upon it, and admire the extraordinary beauty 
which, strange to say, a violent death had not 
marred. Yet the Afghans, untouched by pity, looked 
upon the pale corpse only as an evidence of victory ; 
and were, with difficulty, induced hy Shuja-oo-dowla 
to renounce the idea of having " it dried and stuffed, 
to carry to Cabool." Concerning the fate of the 
Bhow considerable uncertainty prevailed, although a 
headless trunk was said to he recognised as his by a 
scar on the back — certain marks in the hands and feet, 
which seemed to bear evidence of the 1,400 prostra- 
tions he made daily before the sun, and what the 
astrologers term the Pucldum Mutch, or fortunate 
lines in his foot.' 

'•f- See narrative of Casi Rai, an officer in the ser- 
vice of SVjja-oo-dowla. (Asiatic Researches, vol. iii.) 

a youth about the age of "Wiswas Rao. 
Ibrahim Khan was cruelly treated; and it 
was even reported that his death had been 
caused by the poison put into his wounds. 

This great overthrow was a blow from 
which the aspiring Mahrattas never wholly 
recovered. In the course of the cam- 
paign, 200,000 of them are alleged to have 
perished, including nearly all their leading 
chiefs. The disastrous intelligence reached 
the Deccan through the medium of a letter 
addressed to the soucars or bankers, who 
generally contrive to obtain the earliest 
tidings of all affairs affecting the money- 
market. The letter-carrier was intercepted 
by the peishwa while about to cross the 
Nerbudda, on his way to Hindoostan, and 
its brief contents — " two pearls have been 
dissolved ; twenty-seven gold mohurs have 
been lost ; and, of the silver and copper, the 
total cannot be cast up" — revealed to him 
the fate of his beloved son and cousin, of 
the officers and army. The shock proved 
fatal to a mind worn down with intrigue, 
and a frame enfeebled by indolence and sen- 
suality ; and the peishwa, retiring towards 
Poona, died in a temple which he had erected 
near that city. Notwithstanding the personal 
faults of Balajee Bajee Rao, his political 
sagacity, polished manners, and great ad- 
dress, together with the honoured names 
he bore, had rendered him popular, and his 
death increased the gloom which overhung 
the country. § 

With the battle of Paniput || the Moham- 
medan portion of the history of India natu- 
rally closes. Ahmed Shah quitted Hindoo- 
stan without attempting to profit by the fruits 
of his victory; and Alum Shah, after endur- j 
ing many vicissitudes of fortune, ended his 
days as a pensioner of the powerful company 
whose proceedings will occupy the chief por- 
tion of the following section. 

% The Dooranis said, that " when they left their 
own country, their mothers, wives, and sisters de- 
sired, that whenever they should defeat the un- 
believers, they would kill a few of them on their 
account, that they also might possess a merit in the 
sight of God." — (Casi Rai.) 

§ Tara Bye did not long survive her old adversary, 
the peishwa. She died, aged eighty-six, full of 
exultation at the misfortunes which had overtaken 
her foes. The rajah was then taken out of prison, 
and suffered to reside at large in Sattara; his origi- 
nally weak intellect, still further broken down by 
persecution, rendering such a procedure free from 
any danger to the interests of Madhu Rao, the 
youthful son and successor of the late minister. 

|| Paniput is in 29° 22' N., 76° 51' E. ; the town, 
about four miles in circumference, was formerly sur- 
rounded by a brick wall, of which a part still remains. 

180 INDO-MOHAMMEDAN DYNASTIES, FROM 1001 to 1760, a.d. 

Mohammedan Conquerors and Rulers of Hindoostan. 

House or 

House of 

Ghor dynasty 

Slave Kings. 

House of 

House of 


The Seyeds, 
or Seids. 

House of 




Name or Title. 

' Mahmood . . 
Mohammed . . 
Masaud . . . 
Ahmed . . 
Modood . . . 
Abul Hussun . 
Abul Raschid . 
Toghral . . . 
Farokshad . . 
Ibrahim . . . 
Masaud II. , . 
Arslan . . . 
Behram . . . 
Khosru . . . 
Khosru Malik . 
Kootb-oo-deen . 
Aram .... 
Altamsh . . . 
Rukn-oo-deen . 
Rezia (Sultana) 
Behram (Moiz-oo deen) 
Masaud (Ala-oo-deen) 
Mahmood (Nasir-oo-dcen) 
Bulbun, or Balin . 
Kei Kobad . . . 

{Jelal-oo-deen . • 
Ala-oo-deen . . 
Mobarik .... 
/ Gheias-oo-deen 

Mohammed (Juna) 


Gheias-oo-decn . . 
Abubekir .... 
Nasir-oo-dcen . . 
Humayun . . . 
Mahmood Toghlak 
Doulat Khan Lodi 

{Seyed Khizer Khan 
Moiz-oo-deen, or Seyed 
Mobarik , 
Seyed Mohammed) 
Sevcd Al-oo-deen . 
r Bheilol Lodi . 
< Secander Lodi . . 
( Ibrahim Lodi . . 

Humayun . . 
' Sheer Shah Soor . 
Selim Shall Soor . 
Feroze Soor . . . 
Mohammed Shah Soor Adili 
Ibrahim III. 
Secander Soor . 
/Humayun . . 
Akber .... 
Jehanseer . . 
Shah Jehan . . 
Aurungzebe (Alunige 
Bahadur Shah . 
Jehandar Shah 
Ferokshere . . 
Mohammed Shah 
Ahmed Shah . 
Alumgeer II. . 
VAlum Shah . . 








Ghuznee . . , 
Ditto . . . 
Ditto . . . 
Ditto . . . 
Ditto . . . 
Ditto . . . 
Ditto . . . 
Ditto . . . 

Ditto . . . 
Do. and Lahore 

Ditto . . . 

Ditto . . . 

Ditto . . . 

Ditto . . . 

Ditto . . . 
fGhov, Ghuz-1 
\ nee, & Delhi / 
Delhi . 




( Ditto 






/Deoghiri, or "1 
I Doulatabad .j 
Delhi . 















Agra . 
Delhi & Gwalior 
Delhi . , 
Agra . 
Delhi . 


> Delhi & Ag 

Delhi . 


Brother . . 
Son. . 
Brother . 
Uncle .... 
No Relation . . 
Prince of the Blood 
Brother .... 


Son . . 
Brother . 
Son .... 
Son . 

Conqueror . . 
His slave & general 
Son .... 
Son .... 
Sister . . . 
Brother . . . 
Son of Rukn . 
Grandson of Altamsh 
His Vizier . . 
Son of Bakhara 
A Khilji Chief. 
Nephew . . . 


Vizier .... 

Death or Deposition. 

Nephew .... 

Grandson . . . 

Ditto of Feroze . 
Son of Feroze . . 


Brother, a Minor . 
No Relative . 
No Relative 
Eldest Son . . 

Son. . 

Son. '. . „••, igj 

Conqueror . . . 



Conqueror . . . 


Usurper . 

Youngest Son . . 


Uncle .... 
/Division of Domi-"| 
l_ nion / 

Humayun . . . 




Fourth Son . 
Son . . 

Eldest Son . . . 
Son of Azim-u-Shan 

Nephew . . 

Son. . . . 
Prince of the Blood 


No successor . . 

Natural death, 1030. 

Deposed and blinded. 

Deposed and murdered. 


Natural death. 



Assassinated. ' 


Natural death. 

Natural death. 


Natural death. 

Natural death. 

Imprisoned and murdered. 


Natural death. 

Natural death. 

Natural death. 

Deposed after 7 mths. reign. 

Imprisoned and murdered. 

Imprisoned and murdered. 

Imprisoned and murdered. 

Natural death. 

Natural death. 





Killed, supposed by his son. 

Natural death. 

Natural death. 

Deposed and murdered. 


Natural death. 

Natural death. 

Driven from Delhi by Timur 


Natural death. 

Murdered in a Mosque. 

Natural death. 


Natural death. 

Natural death. 

Slain in battle at Paniput. 

Natural death. 

Driven into Persia. 

Killed at a siege. 

Natural death. 

Assassinated in 3 days. 

Expelled and slain. 

Imprisoned and slaip. 

Defeated in battle, and fled 

Killed by a fall. 

Natural death. 

Natural death. 


Natural death.. 

Natural death. 


Deposed and slain. 

Natural death. 

Deposed and eyes put out. 


Natural death. 

Note. — Of the above 65 conquerors and rulers, 24 were assassinated or poisoned ; 11 were deposed, driven from the throne, 
or abdicated ; two were slain in battle ; one killed by a fall ; and 27 were said to have died a natural death. Fifteen 
princes of the Ghaznivede dynasty had an average duration of reign of 11 years j 10 Slave kings of eight years ; three 
Khiljii of 10 years; eight Toghlak of 11 years; four Seyeds of nine years; three Lodi of 25 years; two Mogul 
of eight years ; six Afghan of two years ; and 12 Mogul of 17 years each. If the reign of Akber, which lasted for 
49 years, and that of Aurungzebe, for 49 = 98, be deducted, the average duration of the remaining 10 princes' reigns 
■was only 10§ years. The period of 751 years gives an average reign, to each prince, of exactly 11 years. These state- 
ments must, however, be regarded rather as affording a general view of the Indo-Mohammedan Dynasties, than as 
assertions of opinions on various disputed points respecting the death and exact date of accession of several potentates : 
for accounts of the minor Mohammedan kingdoms see pp. 93 to 107. The Great Moguls alone assumed the title of 
Padsha, or Emperor. 



Some light is thrown on the communication 
between the eastern and western hemis- 
pheres by the scriptural account of the fre- 
quent supplies of spices and other oriental 
products obtained by Solomon from the sou- 
thern parts of Asia, b.c. 1000. The Phoe- 
nicians were even then supposed to have 
long been the chief carriers in the Indian 
trade, by way of the Red Sea and the Per- 
sian Gulf; but an overland intercourse ap- 
pears to have been simultaneously main- 
tained through Persia and Arabia. Of the 
Asiatics themselves, and of their territories, 
little was known in Europe until the inva- 
sion of the Indian frontier by Alexander the 
Great, b.c. 331. For nearly three centuries 
after his death, the Indian traffic was chiefly 
conducted by Egyptian and Arabian mer- 
chants, by way of the Red Sea, the Nile, 
and the Mediterranean ; the marts being 
Berenice, Coptos, and Alexandria. There 
were, besides, two other and far less fre- 
quented routes : the first lay through Persia 
and the upper part of Arabia to the Syrian 
cities, and stretched over a long and dreary 
desert tract, in which the only halting-place 
was the famous Tadmor or Palmyra — the 
city of palms — whose independence and 
growing prosperity exciting the jealousy of 
imperial Rome, proved the occasion of its 
destruction, notwithstanding the determined 
efforts of its brave queen, Zenobia. With 
Palmyra the overland traffic of the desert, 
which had existed since the time of Abra- 
ham, terminated ; but the other route, 
across the rocky passes of the Hindoo 
Koosh, is still in existence, and by this 
means an inland trade is maintained between 
India, Persia, and Russia (vid Bokhara.) 

In the middle of the first century of the 
Christian era a discovery was made by a 
Greek, named Hippalus, the commander of 
an Egyptian East-Indiaman, of the steady 
course of the monsoon, at fixed periods, in a 
certain direction. The result of his observa- 
tion and daring adventure was to reduce a 
tedious voyage, of two months' duration, 
within the compass of a few days ; mariners 
thenceforth steering from the mouth of the 
RedSea directly across the ocean to Nelcunda 
(the site of which Dr. Vincent traces in the 
2 B 

modern Nelisuram), instead of following the 
circuitous line of the Arabian and Persian 
coasts. Here pepper in great abundance, cot- 
ton cloths, and exquisitely fine muslins, silk, 
ivory, spikenard, pearls, diamonds, amethysts, 
with other precious stones, and tortoiseshell, 
awaited the arrival of the merchants, and 
were largely exported, as also from Tyndis 
and Musiris (Barcelore and Mangalore), and 
other emporia on the Indian coast, in exchange 
for gold and silver, (in vessels and specie,) 
cloth, coral, incense, glass, and a little wine. 

The weakness and distraction of the Ro- 
man empire checked this profitable traffic, 
and the rise of Mohammedan power subse- 
quently cut off all direct communication 
between Europe and India. The Arabians 
then formed settlements on the eastern 
coasts of the Deccan, and by their vessels, or 
by inland caravans, the rich productions of 
India were sold to the Venetians or Genoese 
on the shores of the Mediterranean or of the 
Euxine. These merchant-princes, though 
characterised by maritime enterprise, were 
naturally little desirous of prosecuting dis- 
coveries calculated to break up their mono- 
poly, and transfer to other hands at least a 
large proportion of the Indian trade. The 
leading European states, engrossed by na- 
tional or internal strife, were slow to recog- 
nise the superiority of an extended commerce 
as a means of even political greatness, over 
the sanguinary warfare into which whole 
kingdoms were repeatedly plunged to gratify 
the ambition or malignity of a few persons — 
often of a single individual. The short-lived 
triumphs of the sword only paved the way 
for new contests, envenomed by bitter recol- 
lections ; and it followed inevitably, that all 
peaceful interests — arts and sciences, me- 
chanics, and agriculture — were neglected in 
the paramount necessity of finding means 
to meet the heavy drain of blood and treasure 
so wantonly incurred. The true principle of 
trade — the greatest good of the greatest 
number — was quite overlooked: the citizens 
of a leading emporium forgot, in triumphing 
over a defeated rival, that they were exulting 
in the destruction of one of their own mar- 
kets ; and were far from understanding the 
more remote connexion which, in the absence 


of a holier principle of union, binds nation 
to nation, forming of the whole a body-cor- 
porate, through which the blood circulates 
more or less freely according to the healthy 
or diseased action of each and every member. 

Portuguese Discovery and Dominion.* 
— A new epoch commenced for Europe, 
dating from the time when John I. and 
Prince Henry — worthy representatives of 
the royal house of Portugal — struck out for 
themselves and their country a path to power 
and renown, by becoming the patrons of 
maritime discovery. Portugal was then, as 
now, of limited extent and fertility : her 
previous history afforded little scope for 
boastful recollection, either while under the 
sway of the Romans, as the province of 
Lusitania, or when, in the middle ages, she 
lay crushed beneath the iron yoke of the 
Moors, who, after having overrun nearly the 
whole Peninsula, erected Portugal into a 
kingdom, under the name of Algarve. But 
the fiery furnace of adversity developed mar- 
vellously the latent energies of the Portu- 
guese. Religious zeal became the inspiriug 
theme with them, as it had formerly been 
with their conquerors ; and, after a struggle 
of many hundred years' duration, they, like 
their Spanish neighbours, succeeded in ex- 
pelling from their shores the numerous, war- 
like, and fanatical hordes united under the 
banner of the crescent. 

Acting on the false principle of their late 
persecutors, — that hostilities against infidels 
were meritorious in the sight of God, — the 
Portuguese pursued the Moors into Africa, 
retaliating by every possible means the long 

* The authorities for the Portuguese proceedings 
are Lopez de Castanheda; Stevens' translation of 
Faria y Sousa ; and the accounts given in Harris's 
Voyages,th.e World displayed ; Murray's Discoveries ; 
and other collections of travels by land and sea, in 
which Juan de Barros and Osorio are largely quoted. 

t Pp. 92 to 106. \ Page 41. 

§ The origin of the zamorins, or Tamuri rajahs, is 
discussed by Buchanan (vol. ii., p. 474) and Sousa 
(vol. ii., p. 225.) In accordance with the custom of 
the country, the name of the individual then reigning 
was withheld from the Portuguese ; but their inter- 
preter, a Moor of Tunis (long resident at Calicut), 
described him " as a very good man, and of an hon- 
ourable disposition." He proved to be a person of 
majestic presence and advanced age : dressed in fine 
white calico, adorned with branches and flowers of 
beaten gold, and rare gems (with which latter his whole 
person was bedecked), he reclined on cushions of white 
silk, wrought with gold, under a magnificent canopy. 
A golden fountain of water stood beside him, and a 
gold basin filled with betel and areca: the hall of 
audience was richly carpeted, and hung with tapestry 
of silk and gold. De Gama found some difficulty 

series of outrage and thraldom to which they 
had been subjected. The peculiar situation 
of Portugal, and its long range of coast- 
line, bordered by the yet unmeasured ex- 
panse of the Atlantic, favoured maritime 
enterprise; and the exploration of the shores 
of western, southern, and eastern Africa 
was followed by the expedition of Vasco de 
Gama, who, after crossing the Indian Ocean, 
(by the aid of a Hindoo pilot, obtained at 
Melinda), succeeded in gaining the Malabar 
coast, and landed at Calicut in May, 1498. 

The general condition of India at this 
period has been shown in previous pages, f 
Secander Soor sat on the throne of Delhi : 
in the Deccan, the Mohammedan rulers 
were Mohammed II., of the Bahmani 
dynasty ; Yusuf Adil Shah, of Beejapoor ; 
and Ahmed Nizam Shah, of Ahmednuggur. 
The country visited by the Portuguese had 
anciently formed the southern division of 
the kingdom of Kerala; J but in the course 
of the ninth century had revolted from its 
prince (who had become a Mohammedan), 
and been formed into many petty Hindoo 
principalities. Of these, the chief was that 
now governed by a ruler styled the zarnorin, 
or Tamuri rajah,§ to whom several lesser 
rajahs seem to have been feudatory ; his 
capital, called Calicut, had attained wealth 
and celebrity as a commercial emporium, 
By this prince the adventurers were well 
received; and notwithstanding some awk- 
ward blunders, occasioned by their igno- 
rance of the language, customs, and religion 
of the country, || all went on favourably 
until their proceedings excited the jealousy 
of the Mohammedan traders, whom they 

from thewant of the costly presents with which all 
diplomatic intercourse in the east begins and ends. 
The zarnorin desired an image of Mary, in gold, of 
which he had heard : this was refused, on the plea 
that it was only wood, gilt, but valuable " because it 
had preserved them at sea" — an answer calculated to 
confirm the assertion of the Moors, that these Euro- 
peans, unlike the native Christians, were idolaters. 

i| The Portuguese, acquainted by the accounts of 
Marco Polo and other travellers with the existence 
of a Christian community on this coast, looked for 
the signs of Christian or rather Romish worship; 
and, filled with this idea, actually entered a splendid 
pagoda with lofty pillars of brass, and prostrated 
themselves before an assemblage of strange and 
grotesque forms, which they took for the Indian 
ideal of the Madonna and saints. The strings of 
beads worn by the priests, the water with which the 
company were sprinkled, the powdered sandal-wood, 
and the peal of bells, could not, however, quell 
the suspicions excited by the numerous arms and 
singular accompaniments of many of the figures; 
and one of the Portuguese started to his feet, ex- 
claiming, « If these be devils, it is God I worship." 


termed the Moors,* settled in Calicut. These 
merchants having, through their factors, 
received intelligence of the contests -which 
had taken place, during the voyage, between 
Vasco de Gama and the people of Mozam- 
bique, Mombas, Melinda, and other places 
on the coast of Africa, informed the zamorin 
of the outrages that had been committed 
on this and previous occasions, urging, 
with sufficient reason, that people who, on 
frivolous pretences, fired upon and destroyed 
towns, carried off the inhabitants as slaves, 
and scrupled not to extort information by 
the most barbarous tortures, were more pro- 
bably pirates than ambassadors,t especially 
as they came unprovided with any offer- 
ing from their sovereign. Notwithstanding 
these representations, the Portuguese were 
suffered to make an advantageous disposition 
of their cargo (of scarlet cloth, brass, coral, 
&c.) at Calicut ; but a dispute subsequently 
arising, the factor and secretary were made 
prisoners. De Gama dissembled his alarm, 
and continued to communicate with the 
Indians as if nothing had occurred, until he 
had succeeded in entrapping on board his 
vessel a party, comprising six nairsj and 
fifteen other persons of distinction. He 
then demanded the release of his officers as 
their ransom ; but when this condition was 
complied with, forfeited his pledge by re- 
taining possession of several of his captives. 
Enraged by this dishonourable and insulting 
conduct, the zamorin dispatched a squadron 
of boats against the Portuguese, and suc- 
ceeded in procuring the co-operation of 
neighbouring powers; so that in a short 
time every bay, creek, and river was filled 
with boats, ready, at a given signal, to 
attack the intruders. Such at least was 
the intelligence, wrung by tortures of the 
most cruel and disgusting description, from 
a spy who came out from Goa. De Gama, 
by the aid of favourable winds avoided the 
encounter, steered homewards, and reached 

* This designation seems frequently applied to 
Arabian and African Mohammedans, in contradis- 
tinction to Moguls and Patans. Sousa speaks of 
them as "inhabiting from Choul to Cape Comorin." 

f Prince Henry's characteristic motto, " Talent de 
bien faire," was sadly misapplied by the Portuguese 
commanders, who, almost without exception, treated 
the natives of newly-discovered territories with such 
shameless cruelty, that their skill and courage fails 
to disguise the fact, that they were little else than 
pirates and robbers on an extensive scale ; — worse 
than all, they were stealers of men; and thereby 
guilty of a crime which could not and did not fail 
to bring a curse upon their nation. In vain they 
strove to strengthen themselves with forts and can- 

the Tagus in August, 1499, after an absence 
of two years and two months ; only fifty-five 
of the 160|| men who had accompanied him 
on his perilous enterprise, surviving to share 
the honours of his triumphant entry into 
Lisbon; but of these, every individual re- 
ceived rewards, together with the personal 
commendation of King Emanuel, 

An armament, comprising thirteen ships 
and 1,200 men, was immediately fitted out 
and dispatched to take advantage of the 
new discovery. The command was entrusted 
to Alvarez Cabral, De Gama being excluded 
on the plea of being spared the hazard, but 
probably either on account of an opposite 
interest having begun to prevail at court, or 
because even his own report of his Indian 
proceedings may have borne evidence that 
the beneficial results of the skill and courage 
which had enabled him to triumph over the 
perils of unknown seas, were likely to be 
neutralized by his indiscreet and aggressive 
conduct on shore. Cabral reached Calicut 
in September, 1500, having, on his way, 
discovered the coast of Brazil, and lost four 
of his ships in the frightful storms encoun- 
tered in rounding the Cape of Good Hope, 
Bartholomew Diaz being one of those who 
perished in the seas he had first laid open 
to European adventure. The captives car- 
ried off by De Gama were restored by Cabral, 
and their representations of the honourable 
treatment they had received in Portugal, 
together with costly presents of vessels of 
gold and silver of delicate workmanship, 
and cloths ingeniously wrought, obtained 
for the admiral a gracious reception, and 
permission to establish a factory at Calicut. 
Cabral endeavoured to ingratiate himself 
still further by intercepting and driving into 
the harbour or roadstead of Calicut a large 
vessel, then passing from the neighbouring 
port of Cochin, laden with a rich cargo, in- 
cluding seven elephants, one of which the 
zamorin had vainly endeavoured to pur- 

non — spreading the terror of their name over the 
whole African sea-coast : their power has dwindled 
away like a snow-ball in the sun ; and now_ only 
enough remains to bear witness of lost dominion. 
Five-and-twenty years ago, when serving in the 
navy, I visited the great fortress of Mozambique, 
where we landed the marines of our frigate to pre- 
ven t the governor-general (then newly-arrived from 
Lisbon) being massacred by a horde of savages. At 
Delagoa, Inhamban, Sofala, and other places, the 
Portuguese governor and officers were unwilling to 
venture beyond the reach of the rusty cannon on 
the walls of their dilapidated forts. 

J Military class of Malabar, of the Soodra cast. 

\\ According to Sousa. Castanheda says, 108. 


chase; but this unscrupulous use of power 
gave alarm rather than satisfaction, and 
added weight to the arguments of the Moors, 
regarding the danger of encouraging such 
officious interlopers. The result was, that 
the Portuguese, unable to effect any pur- 
chases from the native merchants, in their 
impatience construed a hasty expression, 
dropped by the zamorin when wearied by 
their solicitations and complaints, into per- 
mission to seize a Moorish cargo of rich 
spices, on condition of the payment of an 
equitable price. This outrage provoked the 
resentment of both the Moors and the Hin- 
doo inhabitants of Calicut. The newly- 
erected factory was broken open, and out of 
its seventy occupants, fifty-one were killed, 
the remainder escaping only by leaping into 
the sea, and swimming to their boats. Cabral 
retaliated by the capture and destruction of 
ten Moorish ships, seizing the cargoes, and 
detaining the crews as prisoners. Then, 
bringing his squadron as close as possible to 
the shore, he opened a furious discharge of 
artillery upon the city, and having set it 
on fire in several places, sailed southward to 
Cochin, whose ruler, having rebelled against 
the zamorin, gladly embraced the offer of 
foreign commerce and alliance. Here an 
abundant supply of pepper, the commodity 
chiefly desired by the Europeans, was ob- 
tained, and Cabral returned to Lisbon, 
taking the opportunity of a favourable wind 
to avoid a fleet of sixty sail, sent against 
him from Calicut. It was now manifest 
that the aggressive policy of the Portuguese 
could succeed only if powerfully supported ; 
and Emanuel being desirous, in the words 
of Faria y Sousa, "to carry out what the 
apostle St. Thomas had begun," during 
his alleged visit to India, resolved, at all 
hazards, to avail himself of the papal grant 
to Portugal of all the eastern regions 
discovered by her fleets, and tenanted by 
infidels. He assembled a larger armament 
than had yet been sent into the eastern 
seas, and assuming the title of " Lord of 
the navigation, conquest, and commerce of 
Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia and India," dis- 
patched Vasco de Gama to enforce his 
authority. The conduct of the envoy was 
marked by the most savage cruelty. On 
the coast of Arabia he met and captured a 
large Moorish ship, seized its stores, shut up 
the crew in the hold, and set it on fire. 
Appearing before Calicut, he collected fifty 
Indians from several captured vessels, and 
in consequence of some delay which oc- 

curred during a negotiation, opened by his 
demand of compensation for the destruction 
of the factory and its occupants, he took up 
an hour-glass, and declared, that unless the 
matter were settled before the sand had 
passed through, the prisoners should all be 
massacred. This savage threat he fulfilled 
to the letter, flinging on shore the heads, 
hands, and feet of the wretched victims. 
After pouring a destructive fire on the city, 
he proceeded to Cochin and Cananore, 
cemented the Portuguese alliance with the 
rulers of these territories, and then returned 
to Lisbon, leaving a squadron of five vessels 
under his uncle, Vincente Sodre, to blockade 
the Red Sea, exclude the hostile Moors 
from any communication with the coast of 
Malabar, and do what he could to protect 
the allies of Portugal against the anger of 
their liege lord, the zamorin. Instead of 
following these injunctions, Sodre engaged 
in piratical pursuits, and at length perished 
in a violent storm. Triumpara, rajah of 
Cochin, was left to make his own defence, 
and being driven from his capital, took refuge 
in the isle of Vaipeen, whose natural strength 
and sacred character would probably not 
have sufficed to ensure him a safe asylum 
but for the succour that arrived from Por- 
tugal, one detachment being sent under the 
afterwards famous Alphonso Albuquerque, 
another under his brother Francisco, and a 
third under Antonio Saldanha. With their 
assistance, Triumpara was replaced on his 
throne, and peace concluded with Calicut, 
but soon broken by the outrageous conduct 
of the Portuguese. The Albuquerques, after 
endeavouring to intimidate the zamorin into 
a renewal of the violated treaty, set sail for 
Europe,* leaving Duarte Pacheco with four 
vessels and a few hundred men to assist in 
guarding their ally, the rajah of Cochin. 

The struggle that ensued afforded the first 
notable instance of the superiority of a small 
force, strengthened by European strategy 
and discipline, over an unwieldly Indian 
host, and may be said to have laid the 
foundation of Portuguese power in India. 
Pacheco was skilful and resolute : Trium- 
para confided to him the sole direction of 
the defence to be made against the advanc- 
ing naval and military armament of the 
zamorin ; and the well-directed fire of his 
little squadron enabled him to obtain a com- 
plete triumph, which was greatly facilitated 

* Alphonso reached Europe safely. Francisco, 
with the ships under his command, is supposed to 
have perished in a storm near Melinda, in Africa. 


by a destructive sickness that broke out 
among the enemy, and compelled their re- 
treat to Calicut.* Pacheco was, perhaps, the 
ablest as well as the most humane and dis- 
interested of the commanders of his nation 
in India; for no other, not even Albuquer- 
que, obtained such uniform success with 
such inadequate means. It would have 
been good policy to have left him in the posi- 
tion he had so well filled ; instead of which, 
he was superseded by Lope Soarez. On re- 
turning to Portugal, he was . treated by 
Emanuel with well-merited distinction ; and 
his disregard of bis own interests, and zeal for 
the public service, were rewarded by the ap- 
pointment of governor of El Mina, the chief 
settlement on the African coast; but a 
violent faction being there raised against 
him, he was sent home in chains, impri- 
soned for years, and although at length 
honourably acquitted, suffered to die in 
poverty and neglect. 

In 1505, Erancisco de Almeida arrived off 
Malabar, attended by a powerful fleet, and 
dignified with the new and pompous title 
of viceroy of India. A more formidable 
opposition than any heretofore encountered 
now awaited the Portuguese, in the combi- 
nation formed against them by Mahmood 
Begarra, of Guzerat, with the Mameluk 
sultan of Cairo, and the angry and disap- 
pointed Venetians. The sultan, incensed by 
the diminution of his revenues, by the shame- 
ful piracies committed on his vessels, and by 
the barbarous massacre of pilgrims on their 
way to Mecca (whose cause every zealous 
Mohammedan identifies with his own), 
equipped twelve large ships in the Red 
Sea,f and placed them under an officer 
named Meer Hocem, with orders for the 
extirpation of the infidel invaders from the 
whole face of the eastern seas. Malek 
Eiaz, the viceroy of Diu, was sent by 
Mahmood to join the Mameluks, with an 
assemblage of vessels, inferior in size, but 
greater in number ; and the combined force 
fell upon the Portuguese squadron anchored 
off Choul with such effect, that the young 
commander, Lorenzo, the only son of Al- 
meida, seeing no prospect of successful re- 
sistance, and his chief officers, like himself, 
being wounded, resolved to take advantage 

* Both Moors and Hindoos 'were provided with 
cannon before the arrival of the Portuguese, though 
they do not appear to have been skilful in its use. 

f The Venetians sent the timber from the forests 
of Dalmatia, by way of Alexandria and the Nile. 
Venetian carpenters built the fleet, which was 
strongly manned with choice Turkish soldiers. 

of a favourable tide and proceed out to sea. 
The movement was commenced at midnight, 
and went on favourably until the ship in 
which Lorenzo sailed ran foul of some fish- 
ing stakes. The enemy having discovered 
the manoeuvre, pressed on in pursuit, while 
ineffectual attempts were made to free the 
intercepted vessel. Lorenzo was entreated 
to enter a boat and escape to the fleet ; but 
he refused to forsake his companions, and 
drawing them up in fighting order, resolved 
to hold out, if possible, until the advancing 
tide should float them out to sea. Hostile 
ships, bristling with cannon, bore down on 
the devoted band, and destroyed their last 
hope by opening upon them a tremendous 
fire. A ball in the thigh incapacitated 
Lorenzo for movement ; but he caused him- 
self to be lashed to the mast, whence he 
continued to direct and cheer his men till 
another shot struck him on the breast, and 
terminated at once his struggles and his 
life. J The crew, though reduced from one 
hundred to twenty men, and all wounded, 
were still disposed to resist the boarding of 
their vessel ; but Malek Eiaz, by gentleness 
and promises of good treatment, prevailed 
on them to surrender ; and by his after- 
conduct, amply redeemed his pledge. In 
truth, Eiaz appears to be almost the only 
Mohammedan commander of his age and 
country, who in any degree inherited the 
chivalry which romance and even history 
have associated with Saracen leaders in the 
time of the Crusades. He addressed Al- 
meida in terms of the most delicate con- 
dolence, expressing earnest admiration of 
the valour of his lost son ; but the veteran 
sternly replied, that he considered excel- 
lence more to be desired than long life, and 
saw no cause for lamentation in the glorious 
death of one who was doubtless now enjoy- 
ing the reward of his good conduct. This 
semblance of resignation imposed no re- 
straint upon the burning impatience with 
which he prepared for vengeance. When 
about to depart at the head of a fleet of 
nineteen ships, an unexpected event de- 
ranged his plans, and inflicted a blow which 
he bore with far less dignity than he had 
done his late bereavement. This was no- 
thing less than his recall and supercession 

X Sousa says, his countrymen lost 140 men in this 
engagement, and the enemy GOO. Unfortunately, we 
cannot check the Portuguese accounts by those of 
their foes, because the Mohammedan historians of 
the Deccan have rarely thought fit to narrate their 
contests with these " foreign idolaters," whom they 
affected to treat with contemptuous indifference. 


by Alphonso Albuquerque, who arrived in 
1506, bearing a commission as governor- 
general of India.* Almeida positively re- 
fused to resign his command until he should 
have avenged his son's death by the de- 
struction of the hostile fleet. Being sup- 
ported in his disobedience to the royal man- 
date by several leading officers, he refused 
to allow Albuquerque even to take part in 
the intended expedition, and sailed off to 
attack Dabul, a leading emporium, which 
had zealously embraced the Egyptian cause. 
The troops disembarked at Diu, notwithstand- 
ing the discharge of powerful batteries ; for 
these, having rather a high range, passed 
over the soldiers heads as they landed in 
boats, without inflicting any injury. Once on 
shore, a deadly conflict commenced with the 
bodies of armed citizens who blocked up the 
narrow passages to the town : these were 
at length overpowered; and by the orders 
of the merciless victor, an indiscriminate 
slaughter ensued. The streets streamed 
with blood, and the distracted multitudes 
fled to the caves of the neighbouring moun- 
tains, finding that even buildings consecrated 
to the service of the One Universal Lord 
afforded no refuge from the lust and fury 
of the savage men who dared to cast dis- 
honour on the great name of the Redeemer, 
by styling themselves disciples and propa- 
gators of a faith whose very essence is peace 
and love. This disgraceful scene had a suit- 
able conclusion; for Almeida, unable to with- 
draw his troops from their horrible employ- 
ment, resorted to a violent method of re- 
storing some degree of discipline, by causing 
the town to be set on fire. The flames ex- 
tended rapidly over the light timber roofs, 
and after reducing the stately city to a pile 
of smoking wood and ashes, reached the 
harbour. The native shipping was de- 
stroyed ; the Portuguese vessels with diffi- 
culty escaped, and proceeded to the Gulf 
of Cambay. Here Almeida attacked the 
combined fleet, and gained a great but 
costly victory. The Mameluk portion was 
completely destroyed, and Malek Eiaz com- 
pelled to sue for peace. Almeida stipulated 
for the surrender of Meer Hocem ; but Eiaz 
indignantly refused to betray his ally, and 
would offer no further concession as the 
price of peace than the freedom of all 
European captives. Having no power of 
enforcing other terms, Almeida was com- 

* The office of viceroy and governor-general was 
the same, though the title differed. 

f Vide British Possessions in Africa, vol. iii., p. 4. 

pelled to accept these; but unsoftened by 
the kindness which the surviving compa- 
nions of his son had received from their 
brave captor, the Portuguese admiral filled 
the measure of his barbarities by causing 
his prisoners to be shut up in the prize 
vessels and burnt with them. "Many," 
says Faria y Sousa, "judged the unhappy 
end of the viceroy and other gentlemen to 
be a just punishment of that crime." If 
so, it was not long delayed. On the return 
of Almeida to Cochin, a contest seemed 
about to commence with Albuquerque for 
the possession of the supreme authority. 
At this crisis, Ferdinand Coutinho, a noble- 
man of high character, arrived in command 
of fifteen ships and a large body of troops, 
having been opportunely dispatched by Ema- 
nuel, with powers to act in the very pro- 
bable conjuncture which had actually arisen. 
By his mediation, Almeida was induced to 
resign the viceroyalty, and set sail for his 
native country, which he never lived to 
reach, — he, who had brought so many to 
an untimely end, himself suffering a vio- 
lent death at the hands of some Hottentots 
at the Cape of Good Hope, of whose cattle 
the Portuguese had attempted to take for- 
cible possession, f 

Albuquerque was now left to carry out 
unchecked his ambitious schemes. He com- 
menced by the assault of Calicut (January, 
1510), in conjunction with Coutinho, who, 
being about to return to Portugal, vehe- 
mently urged his claim to be allowed to take 
the lead on this occasion. As the city could 
only be approached through narrow avenues, 
amidst thick woods, in which the whole 
army had not room to act, it was arranged 
that the two commanders should advance, at 
day-break on the following morning, in sepa- 
rate divisions. That of Albuquerque took the 
lead, and obtained possession of a fortified 
palace (previously fixed upon as the first 
object of assault) before the rival party 
reached the spot. Coutinho, greatly annoyed 
at being thus anticipated, reproached Albu- 
querque with a breach of faith, and declaring 
that he would not be again forestalled, made 
his way through the streets of Calicut to the 
chief palace, which lay on the other side of 
the city, and formed a little town, enclosed 
by a wall. Being the only regular fortifica- 
tion in the place, it was defended by the 
main strength of the army ; but Coutinho 
succeeded in forcing open the gates, and ac- 
quired possession of the whole enclosure. 
Flushed with victory, he gave his men full 


license to plunder, and withdrew, to seek 
rest and refreshment in the state apartments. 
This over-confidence afforded the Hindoos 
time to recover from their consternation ; 
and a cry, uttered by one of the chief nairs, 
passed from mouth to mouth, to the distance 
of several miles, until 30,000 armed men 
had assembled, and in turn, surprised the 
invaders. Albuquerque, who occupied the 
city, vainly strove to maintain the commu- 
nication with the fleet : he was hemmed in 
with his troops in the narrow lanes and 
avenues, and exposed to a continued shower 
of arrows and stones, one of which felled 
him to the ground. The soldiers set fire to 
the adjacent buildings, and escaped to the 
ships, bearing away their commander in a 
state of unconsciousness. Coutinho was less 
fortunate. When, after neglecting repeated 
warnings, at last roused by the clash of arms 
to the actual state of the case, he sprang to 
the head of his troops, and fought with the 
fury of desperation, striving not to retain 
possession of the place — for that was mani- 
festly impossible — but only to cut a path to 
the shore. In this the majority of the com- 
mon soldiers succeeded ; but Coutinho, with 
Vasco Sylviera, and other nobles of distinc- 
tion, were left dead on the field. Out of 
1,600 Portuguese (according to De Barros), 
eighty were killed, and 300 wounded. This 
disastrous commencement, so far from 
checking, only served to increase the desire 
of Albuquerque for territorial dominion, in 
opposition to the policy previously pursued 
by Almeida, who had considered that fac- 
tories, guarded by a powerful fleet, would 
better suit the purposes of commerce, and be 
less likely to excite enmity. 

Disappointed in the hope of gaining pos- 
session of the capital of the zamorin, he 
looked round for some other city which 
might form the nucleus of a new empire ; 
for as yet, notwithstanding their high- 
sounding titles, the Portuguese had but a 
precarious tenure, even of the land on 
which their few forts and factories were 
erected. A useful, though not creditable ally, 
Timojee, a Hindoo pirate, directed his at- 
tention to Goa, then comprehended in the 
kingdom of Beejapoor. The city was taken 
by surprise in the early part of 1510;. re- 
captured a few months later by Yusuf Adil 
Shah, in person ; and finally conquered by 

* Portuguese Asia, vol. L, p. 172. 

f After making large allowance for t'ne barbarities 
common to his age and nation, Albuquerque seems 
to have been more than usually cruel in bis punish.- 

Albuquerque, at the close of the same year. 
The contest was prolonged and sanguinary; 
and the after-slaughter must have been ter- 
rific, — since, according to Sousa, " not one 
Moor was left alive in the island/'* The 
Hindoos were treated very differently; for 
Albuquerque, with a politic view to the con- 
solidation of his newly-acquired power, con- 
firmed them in their possessions, and pro- 
moted the intermarriage of their women 
with the Portuguese by handsome dowries, 
at the same time proving his confidence in 
his new subjects, by employing them in 
both civil and military capacities. A large 
quantity of cannon and military stores were 
captured in Goa, and probably assisted in 
furnishing the fortifications raised by him in 
that city; and also in fitting out an arma- 
ment, comprising 800 Portuguese and 600 
Indians, with which Albuquerque proceeded 
to attack Malacca. This kingdom was then 
of great importance, being what Singapore 
is now — namely, the chief mart of the com- 
merce carried on between Hindoostan, China, 
and the eastern islands. The inhabitants made 
a vigorous resistance with cannon and floats 
of wild-fire, and defended their streets by 
mining with gunpowder ; but they were 
overpowered by the Portuguese, who gained 
complete possession of the city, and im- 
mediately began to erect a strong fort from 
the ruins of the shattered palaces, and take j 
other measures for the permanent establish- 
ment of their supremacy. Negotiations 
were opened with Siam, Java, and Sumatra; 
and friendly embassies are even asserted 
to have been dispatched from these countries j 
in return. The restless sword of Albu- 
querque next found employment in the de- 
fence of Goa, where tranquillity was no 
sooner restored, than he resumed his plans 
of distant conquest; and after two unsuc- 
cessful attempts upon Aden, assembled 
1,500 European and 600 Asiatic troops, 
in pursuit of the darling object of his am- 
bition — the conquest of Ormuz, the famous 
emporium of the Persian Gulf. This he ap- 
pears to have accomplished with little diffi- 
culty, by working upon the fears and weak- 
ness of the sovereign, who felt quite in- 
capable of combating a formidable force, led 
by a commander whose ability was more 
than equalled by his ruthless severity ;-j- 
and Ormuz, notwithstanding the counter- 

ments. Among many instances, may be cited that 
of his sending Portuguese renegades back to their 
country with their ears, noses, right-hands, and 
thumbs of the left hand cut off. His passions were 


intrigues of the Persian ambassador, fell an 
easy prize into the hands of the Portuguese. 
Albuquerque, delighted with his success, 
prepared to return to Goa, there to super- 
intend the consolidation of the dominion he 
had gained, and at the same time recruit 
his own strength, after toils calculated to 
increase the burden of advancing years. 
These anticipations were suddenly dashed 
to the ground by tidings which reached 
him while sailing along the coast of Cambay. 
He who had superseded Almeida, was now 
himself to be ignominiously displaced by a 
new governor — Lope Soarez, who, to make 
the blow more galling, was his personal and 
bitter foe. There was no letter, nor any mark 
of respect or sympathy from the king, and 
no reason assigned for his removal ; probably 
none existed beyond the malice of his foes, 
in suggesting that the powerful viceroy 
might not long continue a subject. New 
officers were nominated to the chief vessels 
and forts, selected from the party known 
to be hostile to his interests ; and even men 
whom he had sent home prisoners for 
heinous crimes, returned with high appoint- 
ments. The adherents of Albuquerque 
rallied round him, and strove to induce him 
to follow the example of many Asiatic 
governors, by asserting his independence; but 
he rejected the temptation, declaring that 
the only course now left him consistent with 
his honour, which through life had been his 
first care, was to die. Then giving way to 
profound melancholy, and refusing food or 
medicine, he soon found the death he 
ardently desired, expiring upon the bar of 
Goa (which he had called his land of pro- 
mise) in December, 1515, in the sixty-third 
year of his age. While writhing under the 
torment of a wounded spirit, he was pre- 
vailed upon to address a few proud and 
pathetic lines of farewell to his sovereign, 
commending to his favour the son whom he 
had left in Portugal. " As for the affairs of 
India/' he added, "they will speak for 
themselves and me." This -was no empty 
boast j for in five years, Albuquerque had 
raised the maritime power of his nation in 
the East, to a point which, in spite of many 

unrestrained, after his nephew, Antonio de Noronha, 
was slain in action ; this youth having, according 
to Faria y Sousa, exercised a very salutary influence 
over his temper through his affections. 

* When on his way to supersede Almeida, he at- 
tacked Ormuz, and there committed great cruelties, 
such as cutting off the hands, ears, and noses of per- 
sons carrying provisions into the city. Being com- 
pelled to raise the sipge by the valour of Khoieh 

changes and conflicts, it never far surpassed. 
The prize thus acquired was little less 
than the monopoly of commerce between 
Europe and India, which was maintained 
for upwards of a century. Faria y Sousa, 
indeed, boasts that the empire of his 
countrymen stretched from the Cape of 
Good Hope to the frontier of China, and 
comprehended a coast 12,000 miles in ex- 
tent; but this simply signifies, that upon 
this immense sea-line, they alone, of the 
nations of Europe, had established factories. 
Of these there were, in all, about thirty — 
in some cases 1,000 miles apart ; and of the 
surrounding country they rarely possessed 
anything beyond that which their walls en- 
circled. In India, Goa was the great seat 
of their influence : they there obtained pos- 
session of an area, extending, at a subse- 
quent period, over above 1,000 square miles. 
The town of Cochin may be said to have 
been under their control, and probably also 
that of Cananore ; but both these small states 
continued to retain their native rajahs. 
Peace had been concluded with Calicut in 
1513, and a fortified factory erected there: 
they possibly, also, established a few insigni- 
ficant trading depots on other parts of the 
coast. Had the management of affairs 
continued to be entrusted to such men as 
Albuquerque, it is probable that the strug- 
gle, already commenced with the Moham- 
medans by the seizure of Goa, would have 
continued until the Portuguese had really 
acquired extensive territorial sovereignty ; 
but as it was, the high-sounding title of 
the viceroy or governor-general of India, 
was quite inconsistent with his actual 
position as ruler of a few scattered settle- 
ments, held at all times on a very precarious 

Lope Soarez, the new governor, presented 
a strong contrast to his predecessor. Albu- 
querque was a man of middle stature, with 
a long white beard, which, for a character- 
istic reason, had been suffered to grow 
until it reached his girdle, where he wore 
it knotted.* When not clouded by fierce 
and too frequent paroxysms of passion, his 
countenance was pleasing, and his manner 

Atar, the governor or regent for the young king, 
the enraged Albuquerque swore, that his beard 
should never be cut, until he should sit, for that 
purpose, on the back of his adversary. The oppor- 
tunity never appears to have arrived (for the name 
of Khojeh Atar is not even mentioned in the account 
of the eventual seizure of Goa) ; and Albuquerque 
carried to his grave a mortifying memorial of the 
I folly of rash vows. — (Faria y Sousa, vol. i., p. 178.) 


frank and courteous : to the native princes 
especially he maintained a respectful de- 
meanour, ■which rendered him popular even 
with those who had little real cause for re- 
garding him with a friendly eye. Soarez, 
according to Faria y Sousa, " was a comely 
man, with very red hair," and a haughty 
and repulsive bearing. His covetous and 
grasping conduct set an example which was 
speedily followed ; and the whole body of the 
military began to trade, or rather plun- 
der, each one on his own account, with an 
utter disregard for the public service. The 
main-spring of the mischief was in Portugal, 
where, instead of selecting men of tried 
ability and rectitude, birth or patronage be- 
came the first requisite for an office, in 
which the formula of installation required 
from the successful candidate a solemn as- 
severation, that he had made no interest to 
procure that employment. " How needless 
the question !" exclaims Faria y Sousa, 
" how false the oath !" Even if a good 
governor were appointed by a happy acci- 
dent, or in a moment of urgent necessity, 
he could hope to effect little permanent re- 
form ; for in the event of his sending home 
officers charged with the most outrageous 
offences, they, if men of wealth, however 
acquired, were sure of a favourable hearing 
at court, and their representations would 
probably succeed even in procuring the 
downfall of their more righteous accuser. 

It is quite unnecessary to follow in detail 
the hostilities in which the Portuguese be- 
came involved with the natives of every 
place where they had established them- 
selves, being, in some cases, completely 
expelled ; in others, barely tolerated : thus 
fulfilling the prophecy of one of the despised 
Hindoos, — that " whatever they gained as 
courageous soldiers, they would lose as 
covetous merchants ;"* and it might with 
truth have been added, as persecuting 
bigots: for the injunctions given to the 
eight Franciscan friars attached to Cabral's 
expedition, to " carry fire and the sword 
into every country which should refuse to 
listen to their preaching/'f were not neg- 
lected by their successors. 

The administration of Soarez, though 
generally disastrous,^ was distinguished by 

* Sousa adds, " Who was most barbarous — he that 
said this, or they who did what he said ?" 

t De Barros and Faria y Sousa, vol. i. p. 53. 

% The wrath excited by the piratical seizure of two 
ships, caused the expulsion of the Portuguese from 
Bengal, where they wished to establish factories. 

§ Surat (according to Sousa), whenattacked in 1530, 

2 c 


the erection of a fort and factory in the 
territory of the king of Columbo, in Ceylon 
(a.d. 1517), from whom, though he had 
from the first traded amicably with them, 
the Portuguese now exacted a yearly tribute 
of 1,200 quintals of cinnamon, twelve rings 
of rubies and sapphires, and six elephants. 
It is probable this payment could not be 
enforced, as the fort itself was abandoned, 
in 1524, as not worth the keeping, by Vasco 
de Gama, who was sent out as viceroy in 
that year. His tenure of office lasted but 
three months, being terminated by death on 
Christmas Eve. Sousa describes De Gama as 
a man of "middle size, somewhat gross, and 
of a ruddy complexion of a dauntless dis- 
position ; capable of enduring extraordinary 
fatigue ; prompt and resolute in the execu- 
tion of justice. Even during his mortal 
sickness the veteran discoverer zealously 
exerted himself to put down piracy by sea 
and peculation by land, preparatory to the 
execution of greater designs ; but the tem- 
porary check given to long-permitted mal- 
practices was soon over-stepped; and the dis- 
sensions arising from the unbridled lust and 
avarice of the Portuguese reached such a 
height, that had the natives combined to- 
gether against them, their total expulsion 
would seem to have been very practicable. 
The zamorin succeeded in driving them 
from Calicut, which they quitted after per- 
forming the humiliating task of destroying 
their own fortifications. 

Nuno da Cunha was sent out in 1529. 
He was then forty-two years of age, tall, 
and well-proportioned, with a fair com- 
plexion and black beard, but disfigured by 
the loss of an eye. His reputation for jus- 
tice and moderation, though probably de- 
served, so far as his countrymen were con- 
cerned, ill accords with the character of his 
foreign policy ; for during his administra- 
tion a series of unprovoked outrages of the 
most disgraceful character were committed 
on the territories of neighbouring rulers. 
The coast of Guzerat was ravaged in 1530; 
towns and villages, including Surat, § Da- 
maun, and others of note, were plundered 
and burned; the adjacent land bereft of 
every semblance of cultivation ; and the 
wretched inhabitants carried off as slaves. || 

contained "ten thousand families, mostly handicrafts, 
and all of no courage :" it was taken almost with- 
out resistance, " and nothing left in it that had life, 
or was of value. Then the city, and some ships 
that lay in the arsenal, were burnt." 

|| The result of a single incursion on the coast of 
Diu was " the obtainment of 4,000 slaves and an 


In the two following years an expedition 
was carried out, which, though unsuccessful 
in its main object — the taking of Diu — re- 
sulted in the capture of the strong island of 
Beth, seven leagues distant : the whole of 
the towns on the Maharashtra coast, from 
Chicklee Tarapoor to Bassein, were burned, 
and contributions levied from Tanna and 
Bombay. The contest between Bahadur 
Shah and the Moguls, drove the former into 
a compromise with his European foes, whose 
assistance against the emperor, Humayun, 
he purchased by granting the long-desired 
permission to build a fort at Diu,* and by 
the cession of Bassein in perpetuity, with 
authority to levy duties on the trade with 
the Red Sea. The circumstances connected 
with the assassination of Bahadur by the 
Portuguese have been already repeatedly 
mentioned. f The immediate consequence 
was their occupation of Diu, where they ob- 
tained some treasure and an extraordinary 
amount of cannon and military stores. 

In September, 1538, a determined at- 
tempt to recover Diu was made by a force 
levied in Guzerat, through the exertions of 
a Moorish chief, named Khojeh Zofar, and 
supported by a squadron dispatched by the 
Grand Seignior, under the command of Soly- 
man Pasha, the governor of Cairo. The 
small and sickly garrison of the fort de- 
fended themselves with desperate valour; 
and the women, incited by the enthusiasm 
of Donna Isabella de Vega (the wife of the 
governor), and others, bore their part in the 
danger and fatigue, by taking upon them- 
selves the task of repairing the works 
shattered by the incessant fire of the 
batteries. Attempts to carry the fortress 
by storm were continued during two months, 
and the besieged were well nigh exhausted, 
only forty men remaining fit for duty, when, 
to their joyful surprise, want of union in 
the camp of the enemy, added probably to 
ignorance of the straits to which they were 
reduced, led Solyman to abandon the enter- 
prise on the very eve of success. During his 
way to Egypt he committed great cruelties 
on the Portuguese whom he found at differ- 

infinite booty." The fleet, as reviewed in 1531, con- 
sisted of " above four hundred sail, many large, more 
indifferent, and the greatest number small ; several 
of them were only sutlers, fitted out by the natives 
for private gain," and manned by 3,600 soldiers, 
1 ,450 Portuguese seamen, 2,000 Malabars and Cana- 
rese, 8,000 slaves, and 5,000 seamen. — (Sousa, vol. i. 
p. 347.) Nuno is also described as employing as 
sailors " 1,000 Lascarines of the country." 

* Sousa relates a feat, performed on this occasion 
by a Portuguese, named Botello, who, hoping to 

ent Arabian ports, putting 140 of them to 
death, and causing their heads, ears, and 
noses to be salted, and so preserved for the 
gratification of the Grand Turk. This at 
least is the story told by Sousa, who de- 
parts from his usual moderation in describing 
this formidable foe to his nation, represent- 
ing him as ill-favoured, short and corpulent 
— " more like a beast than a man." Al- 
though eighty years of age, and unable to 
rise without the assistance of four servants, 
he ebtained the command of the recent 
expedition, by reason of the enormous 
wealth gathered by oppression, which en- 
abled him to furnish the shipping at his 
own cost. At length a career of crime was 
terminated by suicide, committed in a 
paroxysm of envy and wounded pride. 

The reason of succour not having been 
dispatched from Goa to Diu, was the unset- 
tled state of affairs occasioned by the recall 
of Nuno da Cunha, whose ten years' ad- 
ministration was brought to a close as ab- 
rupt and humiliating as that of Albuquerque. 
His aggressive policy is quite unjustifiable ; 
but as King John III. was little disposed to 
be critical on that account, the perfect dis- 
interestedness and energy of the governor 
had merited honour rather than disgrace. 

Like many other of the world's great 
men, who have thought to serve their coun- 
try at the expense of duty to God and the 
common rights of mankind, Nuno discovered 
his error too late : he fell sick, and died on 
the voyage to Portugal, the body being com- 
mitted to the deep, in compliance with the 
command of the disappointed statesman, 
that his ungrateful country should not have 
his bones. 

The next memorable epoch in Indo-Por- 
tuguese annals, is formed by the adminis- 
tration of Martin Alonzo de Sousa, which 
commenced in 1542, and lasted about three 
years, during which brief period, his fierce, 
bigotted, and grasping conduct completely 
neutralised the beneficial effect of the efforts 
of his immediate predecessor, Stephen de 
Gama.J War again commenced with the 
neighbouring rulers : cities were destroyed, 

regain the favour of King John by being the first 
to communicate the welcome news, set out from 
India with five Europeans and some slaves, in a 
barque, 16 feet long, 9 broad, and 4k deep. The 
slaves mutinied, and were all slain ; the Europeans 
held on their course without sailors or pilot, and 
after enduring great hardships, arrived at Lisbon. 

f Vide preceding section, pp. 85 — 103. 

j The son of Vasco held sway during two years. 
In evidence of his disinterestedness, it is said that 
he left India 40,000 crowns poorer than he entered it. 


together with evexy living thing they con- 
tained;* temples were despoiled, and cruelty 
and corruption reigned undisguised. Fran- 
gois Xavier, one of the earliest Jesuits, had 
come to India with De Sousa. He exerted 
himself strenuously in representing the im- 
policy of the course pursued, which, if not 
checked, threatened to cause the downfall 
of Portuguese power throughout Asia; but 
his arguments appear to have been unheeded. 
The king of Guzerat, forced into a renewal 
of hostilities, co-operated with his old ally 
Khojeh Zofar, who again besieged the fort 
of Diu, A.n. 1545. The blockade lasted 
eight months, and was carried on after the 
death of Khojeh Zofar (whose head and 
hand were carried away by a cannon-ball) 
by his son, entitled Rumi Khan. Provi- 
sions became so scarce, that nauseous vermin 
were used for food ; while " a crow taken 
upon the dead bodies was a dainty for the 
sick, and sold for five crowns." The am- 
munition was almost spent, and the soldiers 
exhausted with fatigue. The women dis- 
played the same determination as on a pre- 
vious occasion, and the fort was maintained 
until the new governor, Don Juan de Castro, 
arrived to its relief. On his way he cap- 
tured several ships in the vicinity of Damaun, 
and " cutting the Moors that were in them 
in pieces, threw them into the mouths of 
the rivers, that the tide carrying them up, 
they might strike a terror in all that coast." 
Ansote and other towns were destroyed, and 
" the finest women of the Brahmins and Ba- 
nians slaughtered." In fact, these butchers 
spared neither youth nor beauty, age nor 
infirmity; the sanctity of cast, nor the in- 
nocence of childhood. After raising the 
siege of the fort, the city of Diu became the 
scene of a fierce conflict, in which, when 
the Portuguese wavered, the favourite expe- 
dient was resorted to of holding up a cruci- 
fix as an incitement to renewed exertion. 
The sword was a favourite means of con- 
version with Romish missionaries ; priestly 
robes and warlike weapons were quite compa- 
tible ; and, on the present occasion, one Fra 
Antonio played a leading part. The result 
is best told in the words of the historian 
above quoted, and may serve to illustrate the 
manner in which hostilities were conducted 
by his countrymen, under the personal 

* The rani, or queen of a small raj or kingdom, 
situated on the Canarese coast, having refused to pay 
tribute to the Portuguese, was punished by the de- 
struction of her capital, Batecala. " The city," says 
Faria y Sousa, "ran with the blood of all living 

leadership of a governor whose administra- 
tion is generally considered one of pecu- 
liar prosperity and honour. An arm of the 
desecrated symbol was shattered in the con- 
test, upon which "the priest, calling upon 
the men to revenge that sacrilege, they fell 
on with such fury, that having done incre- 
dible execution, they drove the enemy to 
the city, who still gave way, facing us. The 
first that entered the city with them was 
Don Juan, then Don Alvaro and Don 
Emanuel de Lima, and the governor, all 
several ways, making the streets and houses 
run with blood. The women escaped not the 
fate of the men, and children were slain at 
their mothers' breasts, one stroke taking 
away two lives. The first part of the booty 
was precious stones, pearls, gold and silver; 
other things, though of value, were slighted 
as cumbersome. * * * Of the Portuguese, 
100 were killed ; others say only thirty-four : 
of the enemy, 5,000 [including Rumi Khan 
and others of note.] Free plunder was 
allowed. * * * There were taken many 
colours, forty pieces of cannon of an extra- 
ordinary bigness, which, with the lesser, made 
up 200, and a vast quantity of ammunition."! 

After this " glorious victory," thirty ships 
were sent to devastate the Cambay coast : 
the people fled in alarm from the burning 
towns and villages, and took refuge in the 
mountain caves. The inhabitants of a city, 
called Goga, while sleeping in imagined 
security, a league distant from their ruined 
homes, were surprised at night, and all put 
to the sword. The cattle in the fields were 
either killed or ham-strung. In the various 
vessels captured along the coast of Baroach, 
the same system of general massacre was 
carried out ; and the groves of palm-trees, 
which afford, in many places, the sole article 
of subsistence, were systematically destroyed. 

The governor returned in triumph to 
Goa, crowned with laurel, preceded by 
Fra Antonio and his crucifix, and followed 
by 600 prisoners in chains, the royal stan- 
dard of Cambay sweeping the ground. The 
streets were hung and carpeted with silk, scat- 
tered over with gold and silver leaves. The 
ladies threw flowers at the feet of the con- 
queror, and sprinkled sweet-scented waters 
as he passed their windows. This ovation, 
whether designed to gratify individual vanity, 

creatures before it was burnt; then the country was 
laid waste, and ail the woods cut down."— (Vol ii., 
p. 74.) Other small Hindoo states are mentioned by 
Sousa as personally defended by female sovereigns, 
f Faria y Sousa, vol. ii., pp. 110 to 113. 


or with the idea of making an impression on 
the natives, was rendered the more un- 
seemly by the fact, that Don Fernando, the 
son of the governor, had perished during 
the siege of Diu. The sway of De Castro 
lasted only from 1545 to 1548. Notwith- 
standing his sanguinary proceedings, he 
appears to have been solicitous for the inter- 
ests of commerce, and perfectly disinterested ; 
for, instead of having amassed wealth, like 
many other governors of equally short stand- 
ing, he was so poor, that in his last illness 
provision was made for him out of the public 
revenue.* The cause of his death, at forty- 
seven years of age, is said by Faria y Sousa 
to have been " grief for the miserable estate 
to which India was reduced" — a statement 
reconcilable with other accounts of this 
period, only by supposing that amid seeming 
prosperity, De Castro foresaw the end of an 
oppressive and corrupt system. 

The invasion of Sinde, in 1556, under the 
administration of Francisco Barreto, is al- 
leged to have been provoked by the fickleness 
of its ruler, who first solicited and then re- 
fused Portuguese co-operation, thus afford- 
ing a pretext for his intended auxiliaries to 
piliage his capital (Tatta), kill 8,000 persons, 
and destroy by fire " to the value of above 
two millions of gold," after loading their 
vessels with one of the richest booties they 
had ever taken in India. Eight days were 
spent in ravaging the country on both sides 
of the Indus, after which the fleet returned, 
having, it would appear, scarcely lost a man. 
The next exploit was the burning of Dabul 
and the neighbouring villages, in revenge 
for the hostility of the king of Beejapoor. 

Religious persecution, which seems to 
have slumbered for a time, awoke with 
renewed ferocity, and was directed rather 
against what the Romish priests chose to 
call heresy, than .absolute paganism. An 
account of the alleged mission of St. 
Thomas the apostle, and of the Christian 
church spoken of by Cosmas,f in the sixth 
century, properly belongs to the section on 
the religious condition of India. In this 
place it is sufficient to say, that both on 
the Malabar coast and in the kingdom of 
Ethiopia — including the state whose ruler 
attained such extraordinary celebrity under 
the name of Prester John — the Portuguese 
found Christian communities who steadily 

* He died in the arms of Francois Xavier. " In 
his private cabinet was found a bloody discipline 
(? a scourge) and three royals, which was all his trea- 
sure." — {Faria y Soma, vol. ii., p. 129.) 

refused to acknowledge the supremacy of 
the pope ; rejected the use of images, to- 
gether with all dogmas regarding transub- 
stantiation, extreme unction, celibacy of 
priests, &c, and asked for blessings, whe- 
ther temporal or eternal, only in the name 
of the one mediator, Jesus Christ. These 
" ancient Christians," says Sousa, " dis- 
turbed such as were converted from pa- 
ganism " by Zavier and his fellow-labourers : 
the Jews also proved a stumbling-block. 
In 1544, Jerome Diaz, a Portuguese phy- 
sician of Jewish extraction, was burnt for 
heresy; and probably many others of less 
note shared his fate. In 1560, the first 
archbishop of Goa was sent from Lisbon, 
accompanied by the first inquisitors, for the 
suppression of Jews and heretics. Through- 
out the existence of this horrible tribunal, 
crimes of the most fearful character were 
perpetrated; and in the minds alike of the 
denounced schismatics and of pagans, a 
deep loathing was excited against their per- 
secutors. The overthrow of the Hindoo 
kingdom of Beejanuggur, in 1564, by the 
combined efforts of the four Mohammedan 
Deccani states, left these latter at liberty to 
turn their attention moi'e fully towards their 
European foes; and in 1571, a league was 
formed against the Portuguese by the kings 
of Beejapoor and Ahmednuggur. The za- 
morin of Calicut likewise joined them; but 
from some distrust in his own mind, long 
withheld his personal co-operation. Ali 
Adil Shah besieged Goa, sustained great 
loss, and after ten months was compelled 
to withdraw without having accomplished 
anything. Mortezza Nizam Shah sus- 
tained a mortifying defeat at Choul, and 
was glad to make peace with the triumphant 
Portuguese. The zamorin, ' though last in 
the field, had the best success, obtaining 
the surrender of the fort Chale (a few miles 
from Calicut) from Don George de Castro, 
who, although eighty years of age, was 
beheaded at Goa by orders from Portugal, 
on the ground of having surrendered his 
charge without sufficient reason. 

A change was made in 1571 in the duties 
of the governor, by the division of authority 
over Portuguese affairs in Asia into three 
parts : the first, that of India, being made 
to comprise their possessions situated be- 
tween Cape Guardafui and Ceylon ; % the 

f Surnamed Indicopleustes, or the Indian voyager. 

% The proceedings of the Portuguese in Ceylon 
are purposely omitted here : they will be narrated in 
the history of that island. 


second, styled Monomotapa, extending from 
Cape Corrientes to Guardafui; the third, or 
Malacca, from Pegu to China. The sway 
l of Portugal was now, however, nearly ended ; 
she had misused the trust committed to her 
care, and was punished hy the suspension of 
her independence, after maintaining it 500 
years. King Sebastian fell in Africa, in 
1578, and about two years later, Philip II. 
of Spain procured the reannexation of Por- 
tugal, to which he laid claim in right of his 
mother, Isabella. In India, the change was 
only from bad to worse : the furnace of per- 
secution was heated seven times hotter than 
before. The Syrian Christians of Malabar 
were cruelly persecuted, their bishop seized 
and sent to Lisbon, and their churches pil- 
laged ; their books, including ancient copies 
of the Scriptures, burned, while Archbishop 
Menezes marched, singing a hymn, round the 
flames (1599.) The Inquisition increased in 
power; and, perhaps, among all the impious 
and hateful sacrifices offered up by men 
given over to dark delusions, never yet did 
idolatrous pagan, or professed devil- worship- 
per, pollute this fair earth by any crime of 
so deep a dye as the hideous Auto da Fe, 
usually celebrated on the first Sundays in 
Advent.* Dellon, a French physician, who 
languished two years in the dungeons of 
Goa, has given a life-like picture of the 
horrible ceremonials of which he was an 
eye-witness ; and describes his " extreme 
joy" at learning that his sentence was not 
to be burnt, but to be a galley-slave for five 
years.f He speaks of himself as having heard 
every morning, for many weeks, the shrieks 
of unfortunate victims undergoing the ques- 
tion; and he judged that the number of pri- 
soners must be very large, because the pro- 
found silence which reigned within the walls 
of the building, enabled him to count the 
number of doors opened at the hours of 
meals. At the appointed time, the captives 
were assembled by their black-robed jailors, 
and clothed in the san benito, a garb of yellow 
cloth, with the cross of St. Andrew before 
and behind. The relapsed heretics were 
dressed in the samarra, a grey robe, with 
the portrait of the doomed wearer painted 
upon it, surrounded by burning torches, 
flames, and demons; and on their heads 
were placed sugar-loaf- shaped caps, called 

* The portion of the gospel read on that day men- 
tions the last judgment; and the Inquisition pre- 

carrochas, on which devils and flames were 
also depicted. The bell of the cathedral 
began to ring a little before sunrise, and 
the gloomy procession commenced — men and 
women indiscriminately mixed, walking with 
bleeding feet over the sharp stones, and 
eagerly gazed on by innumerable crowds 
assembled from all parts of India to behold 
this " act of faith" of a European nation. 
Sentence was pronounced before the altar 
in the church of St. Francis, the grand 
inquisitor and his counsellors sitting on 
one side, the viceroy and his court on the 
other; and each victim received the final 
intimation of his doom by a slight blow 
upon the breast from the alcaide. Then 
followed their immolation, the viceroy and 
court still looking on while the prisoners 
were bound to the stake in the midst of 
the faggots, and hearing, as a periodical 
occurrence, the shrieks and groans of these 
unhappy creatures. The vengeance of the 
Inquisition ceased not even here : the day 
after the execution, the portraits of the 
murdered men were carried to the church 
of the Dominicans, and there kept in memory 
of their fate ; and the bones of such as had 
died in prison, were likewise preserved in 
small chests painted over with flames and 
demons. J 

These are dark deeds which none aspiring 
to the pure and holy name of Christian can 
record without a feeling of deep humiliation ; 
but they may not be shrouded in oblivion, 
since they furnish abundant reason why the 
mutilated gospel preached by Romish priests 
made so little permanent impression in 
India ; and, moreover, afford enduring evi- 
dence that England, and every other pro- 
testing nation, had solid grounds for seve- 
rance from the polluted and rotten branch 
which produced such fruit as " the holy In- 
quisition." In Europe, as in Asia, a light 
had been thrown on the true nature of the 
iron yoke, with which an ambitious priest- 
hood had dared to fetter nations in the 
name of the Divine Master, whose precepts 
their deeds of pride and cruelty so flagrantly 
belied. The Reformation, faulty as were 
some of the instruments concerned in its es- 
tablishment, had yet taught men to look to 
the written gospel for those laws of liberty 
and love which nations and individuals are 

disparagingly of the adoration of images. He had 
also grievously offended by calling the inquisitors 

tended, by the ceremony, to exhibit an emblem of j fallible men, and the " holy office" a fearful tribunal 
thatawful event. — Wallace's Memoirs of India, p. 394. which France had acted wisely in rejecting. 

f Dellon was accused of heresy for having spoken ' J Hough's Christianity in India, vol. i., chap, iv 


alike bound to observe. Unhappily, this 
great lesson was but imperfectly learned ; 
for. although withheld rights have ever 
formed a popular theme, the responsibilities 
those rights involve cannot be expected 
to commend themselves, save to conscien- 
tious and enlightened minds. Thus it proved 
easier to renounce the dogmas of popery, 
than to root out the vices it had fostered 
or permitted ; and the very people who had 
most cause for gratitude in being delivered 
from the oppressive and arrogant dominion 
of Spain, became themselves examples of 
an equally selfish and short-sighted policy. 

At this period there were many signs in the 
commercial horizon, that neither papal bulls, 
nor the more reasonable respect paid to the 
claims of discovery and preoccupation, 
could any longer preserve the monopoly of 
the Indian trade to Spain and Portugal. 
Several causes combined for its destruction. 
The conquest and settlement of America 
afforded full employment for the ambition 
and ferocity of Philip IT. ; and his Asiatic 
territories were left in the hands of rulers, 
who, for the most part, thought of nothing 
but the gratification of their own passions, 
and the accumulation of wealth; — which 
latter, by pillage of every description, and 
by the shameless sale of all offices and posi- 
tions, they usually contrived to do in the 
period of two to three years,* which formed 
the average duration of their tenure of office. 
It may be readily imagined that the measures 
of his predecessor were rarely carried out 
by any governor; but all seem to have 
agreed in conniving at the most notorious 
infraction of the general rule which forbade 
any Portuguese to traffic on his own account, 
as an unpardonable infringement on the 
exclusive rights of his sovereign. Corrup- 
tion, mismanagement, and the growing 
aversion of the natives, gradually diminished 
the trade, until the average annual arrival 
in Lisbon of ships from India was reduced 
from five to about three ; and the annual 
value of the cargoes decreased in proportion 
to about a million crowns. Thus, notwith- 

* From the arrival of Almeida in 1505, to 1640 (the 
period at which Sousa terminates his history), there 
were some fifty viceroys or governors, of whom 
a very large proportion (about one-third) died in 
India or on their voyage home. 

t The possessions of Spain and Portugal, at this 
time, were the forts of Diul (on the Indus) and 
of Diu ; a fortified factory at Damaun ; the town 
and castle of Choul ; a factory at Dabul ; the city of 
Bassein ; the island of North Salsette, and the town 
ofTanna; the island of Bombay; the city and fort 

standing the royal monopoly of spices, 
Philip soon found that the expense of main- 
taining the various Indian governmentsf 
exceeded the commercial profits : he there- 
fore made over the exclusive privilege of 
trading to India, in the year 1587, to a com- 
pany of Portuguese merchants, on conside- 
ration of a certain annual payment ; reserv- 
ing, however, the appointment of governors, 
the command of the army, and every de- 
scription of territorial revenue and power. 
This change in the state of affairs created 
great excitement and dissatisfaction at Goa. 
It was evident that the company, if able 
and willing to enforce the rights bestowed 
upon them, would reduce the profits of the 
various officials to their legitimate bounds; 
and the very thought was intolerable to a 
community who, " from the viceroy to the 
private soldier, were all illicit traders, and 
occasionally pirates."! The general disorga- 
nisation was increased, in 1594, by the arrival 
of a papal bull and royal command for the 
forcible conversion of infidels ; which was 
in effect, free leave and license to every 
member of the Romish communion to 
torture and destroy all who differed from 
them on doctrinal points, and to pillage pa- 
godas or churches, public or private dwel- 
lings, at pleasure. Such a course of pro- 
ceeding could scarcely fail to bring about 
its own termination; and the strong grasp 
of tyranny and persecution, though more 
fierce, was yet rapidly growing weaker, and 
would probably have been shaken off by the 
natives themselves, even in the absence of 
the European rivals who now appeared on 
the scene. England, under the fostering 
care of Elizabeth, had already manifested 
something of the energy which, under the 
Divine blessing, was to secure to her the 
supremacy of the ocean ; to extend her 
sway over ancient and populous nations ; 
and to lay the foundation of the greatest 
colonial empire the world ever saw. This 
puissance was still in the embryo, and Eng- 
land a little kingdom with a limited trade, 
when her soldiers and merchants began the 

of Goa; and factories at Onore,Barcelore, Mangalore, 
Cananore, Calicut, Cranganore, and Quiloa; sta- 
tions at Negapatam and St. Thomas, or Meliapoor, 
(on the Coromandel coast) ; and several commercial 
posts in Bengal. They had also the port of Cochin ; 
factories, or liberty to trade at Pegu, Martaban, and 
Junkseylon ; held the strongly-fortified town of Ma- 
lacca, and had, moreover, established themselves at 
several commanding points in the island of Ceylon. 
(Bruce's Annals of East India Company, vol. i. p. 24.) 
% Macpherson's Commerce with India, p. 32. 


struggle with the combined forces of Spain 
and Portugal, in alliance with a people whose 
newly-acquired independence had originated 
in the reaction caused by the corruption and 
cruelty of the Spanish government, repre- 
sented by such men as the Duke of Alva, 
and the bigotry of Rome, represented by 
such institutions as the Inquisition.* 

Rise of Dutch Power. — It was only 
in the year 1579 that the Netherlander 
ventured to defy the power of Philip, and 
formed themselves into a separate govern- 
ment, which they did not establish without 
a desperate and prolonged conflict, aided zea- 
lously by Elizabeth. Their after-progress 
was marvellous ; and before neighbouring 
countries had well learned to recognise their 
new position, the " poor distressed people 
of Holland" had changed that designation 
for the "High and Mighty States, the United 
Provinces." The course that materially 
aided their rapid advancement was forced 
upon them by the arbitrary policy of Philip. 
Having very little land, they had ever mainly 
depended for subsistence on fisheries, trade, 
and navigation. "While Portugal was a sepa- 
rate kingdom they resorted thither for East 
India produce, of which they became the 
carriers to all the northern nations of 
Europe ; and after the annexation of that 
kingdom to Spain, their ships continued to 
sail to Lisbon under neutral colours, at 
which the Portuguese gladly connived. 
But Philip, hoping to lay the axe to the 
root of the mercantile prosperity which 
enabled his former subjects to sustain a 
costly and sanguinary contest with his 
mighty armies, compelled the Portuguese 
to renounce this profitable intercourse, — 

* Before the people rose against their oppressors, 
100,000 of them were judicially slaughtered — the 
men by fire and sword, and the women by being 
buried alive. — {Grottt Annul. Belg. pp. 15 — 17.) 

t Along the shores of Norway, Russia, and Tar- 
tary, to China, and thence into the Indian Ocean. 

X The manner in which he acquired this know- 
ledge is variously related : — by Savary, as obtained in 
the Portuguese service ; by other authorities, during a 
long imprisonment at Lisbon ; llaynal says for debt ; 
Sallengre, in consequence of the suspicions excited 
by his inquiries on commercial subjects. His free- 
dom was procured by payment of a heavy fine, sub- 
scribed on his behalf by Dutch merchants. {See 
different accounts, commented on in Macpherson's 
European Commerce ivith India, note to p. 45.) 

§ Two of the vessels were 400 tons burthen, car- 
rying each eighty-four men, six large brass cannon, 
fourteen lesser guns, four great " patereroes" and 
eight little ones, with " muskers" and small guns in 
proportion ; the third, of 200 tons, had fifty-nine 

laid an embargo on all Dutch ships, seized 
the cargoes, imprisoned the merchants and 
ship-masters, or delivered them over as 
heretics to the tender mercies of the In- 
quisition, and even forced the mariners and 
others into his hated service. The Dutch, 
driven to desperation by an enemy from 
whom they had all to fear and nothing to 
hope, incited by the able counsel of Prince 
Maurice, resolved to attempt procuring the 
necessary supplies of spices direct from Asia. 

With the double inducement of avoiding 
the fleets which guarded the approach to the 
Indian seas, and of finding a much shorter 
route, the Dutch (following the example 
of various English navigators) strove to 
discover a north-eastern passage to India, f 
and in the years 1594,-'5, and '6, sent 
three expeditions for this purpose. All 
failed, and the last adventurers were com- 
pelled to winter on the dreary shores 
of Nova Zembla. In the meantime some 
Dutch merchants, not caring to wait the 
doubtful issue of these attempts, formed 
themselves into a company, and resolved 
to brave the opposition of Philip, by com- 
mencing a private trade with India vid 
the Cape of Good Hope. Four ships were 
dispatched for this purpose, under the direc- 
tion of Cornelius Houtman,J a Dutch mer- 
chant or navigator, well acquainted with the 
nature and conduct of the existing Indian 
traffic ; and the coast of Bantam (J ava) was 
reached without hindrance, save from the 
elements. § Having obtained cargoes, partly 
by purchase from the natives, but chiefly 
by plunder from the Portuguese, Houtman 
returned to the Texel, where, notwithstanding 
the loss of one of the vessels — a very frequent 
occurrence in those days, || — the safe arrival of 

men, six large cannon, with lesser ones in proportion ; 
the fourth, of thirty tons, with twenty-four men and 
cannon : the whole carrying 249 mariners. The fleet 
sailed from the Texel the 2nd of April, 1595 ; reached 
Teneriffe on the 19th ; St. Jago on. the 26th ; crossed 
the equator on the 14th of June ; on the 2nd of 
August doubled the Cape of Good Hope (seamen 
in great distress with scurvy), and remained some 
days on the coast : in September, October, and No- 
vember, the ships were at different parts of Mada- 
gascar, and sailed thence on the 1st of December 
towards Java, which was reached in the middle of 
January, 1596; thus terminating the first Dutch voy- 
age to the Indian seas. — (See Collection of Voxjuges 
undertaken by Dutch East India Company. London 
translation, 1808.) 

|| Linschoten says, that almost every year one or 
two Portuguese East-IndiRmen were lost. Faria 
y Sousa gives an account of 956 vessels, which sailed 
from Portugal for India, from 1412 (when Prince 
Henry first attempted the discovery of a passage by 

the remainder was welcomed as an auspicious 
commencement of the undertaking. Several 
new companies were formed ; — the number 
of ships annually increased,* and succeeded 
in obtaining cargoes, notwithstanding the 
opposition of the Portuguese, who strove, but 
for the most part ineffectually, to prejudice 
the natives against their rivals ; their own 
proceedings having been so outrageous, that 
any prospect of a check or counteraction 
seemed rather to be courted than avoided. 
In 1600, not five years after the first ex- 
pedition under Houtman, forty vessels, of 
from 400 to 600 tons, were fitted out by 
the Dutch. Hitherto the Spanish monarch 
had made no effort to intercept their fleet ; 
but in the following year he dispatched an 
armament of thirty ships of war, by which 
eight outward-bound vessels, under the 
command of Spilbergen, were attacked near 
the Cape Verd Islands. The skill and 
bravery of the defendants enabled them 
to offer effectual resistance, and they suc- 
ceeded in making their way to India without 
any serious loss. Philip did not again at- 
tempt a naval contest, but made military 
force the basis of his subsequent efforts for 
their subjugation; prohibiting them, under 
pain of corporal punishment, from trading 
with the Spanish possessions, either in the 
East or West Indies. These threats proved 
only an incitement to more determined 
efforts; and it being evident that the com- 
bination of the several Dutch companies 
would tend to strengthen them against the 
common foe, they were united, in 1602, by 
the States-General, and received a charter 
bestowing on them, for a term of twenty- 
one years, the exclusive right of trade with 
India, together with authority to commission 
all functionaries, civil and military, to form 
what establishments they pleased, and 
make war or peace in all countries beyond 
the Cape of Good Hope. From regard to 
the claims of the proprietors of the minor 
associations, the new company was divided 
into six chambers or boards of management, 
of which Amsterdam and Middleburg were 
the chief, their share in the funds subscribed 
being proportionably represented by twenty- 
sea) to 1640: of these, 150 were lost, and with 
them he estimates not less than 100,000 persons — 
a not improbable number, considering the great 
size of many of the vessels, which carried 800 or 
000 men. 

* In 1598, two fleets, consisting of eight vessels, 
were sent by the Amsterdam merchants from the 
■ Texel, and five from Rotterdam, which were followed 
up by successive fleets in subsequent years, as the 

five and twelve directors ; the remaining 
chambers of Delft, Rotterdam, Hoorn, and 
Enkhuysen having each seven directors : 
making a total of sixty-five persons, with a 
capital of 6,440,200 guilders, or (taking 
the guilder at 1*. Sd.) about £536,600. 
The project was popular, and brought both 
money and a valuable class of emigrants into 
Holland, many opulent merchants of the 
Spanish provinces in the Netherlands, and 
of other places, removing with their effects 
into the Dutch territory. No time was 
lost in fitting out a fleet of fourteen large 
ships, well manned, and furnished with 
soldiers and the necessary military and 
other stores requisite for the carrying out of 
the aggressive policy henceforth to be adopted 
against the national enemies, whom the 
Dutch had previously shunned rather than 
courted encountering in their foreign pos- 
sessions, f The same power, whose co-opera- 
tion had so materially contributed to the 
success of their European struggles, now 
came equally opportunely to their assistance 
in Asia; for in this same year (1602) the 
first ships of the first English East IndiaCom- 
pany appeared in the Indian seas. It may 
be useful to pause here, and briefly review 
the circumstances that led to the formation 
of a body, which, after long years of trial 
and vicissitude, attained such unexampled 
and strangely-constituted greatness. 

Rise of English Power. — Before the 
discovery of the passage by the Cape of 
Good Hope, England, like other northern 
European nations, had been supplied from 
the Adriatic with Eastern products. A ship 
of great bulk usually arrived every year 
from Venice, laden with spice (chiefly 
pepper) aud some other Asiatic commodi- 
ties, which the traders necessarily sold at 
high prices, owing to the circuitous route 
they were compelled to traverse. This state 
of things terminated with the close of the 
fifteenth century, by reason of the successful 
voyage of Vasco de Gama, which gave to 
Portugal the monopoly of the Asiatic trade. 
At that very time, the English, stimulated 
by a strong desire for the extension of corn- 
trade gave twenty to seventy-five per cent, of profit 
on the adventures. — ( Voyages of Dutch Company.) 

-j- The Dutch at first resorted to Sumatra and 
Java, where the Portuguese do not appear to have 
had any considerable establishments. Houtman 
formed a factory at Bantam in 1595. 

The spice trade was opened with Amboyna, 
Ternate, and the Bandas, in 1598 ; with Sumatra and 
China, in 1599; with Ceylon, in 1600. 



merce, and likewise by curiosity regarding 
the far-famed country, then called Cathay 
(China), were themselves attempting the dis- 
covery of a sea-passage to India; and in 
May, 1497, two months before the departure 
of Vasco, from Lisbon, an expedition com- 
prising two ships fitted out by Henry VII. 
and some vessels freighted by the merchants 
of Bristol, left England, under the guidance 
of an enterprising Venetian navigator, named 
Giovanni Gavotta, anglict, John Cabot. On 
reaching 67° 30' N. lat., Cabot was compelled, 
by the mutinous conduct of his crew, to stand 
to the southward ; and in the course of the 
homeward voyage he fell in with Newfound- 
land and the continent of North America. 
Notwithstanding the dissensions which cha- 
racterised the concluding portion of the reign 
of Henry VII., and that of his son and suc- 
cessor Henry VIII., several commissions of 
discovery were issued by them,* but were 
attended with no important results. The 
commerce with the Levant appears to have 
commenced about the year 1511 ;f in 1513, 
a consul was stationed at Scio for its pro- 
tection ; and in process of time, the Levant 
or Turkey merchants came to be looked 
upon as the true East India traders. Fac- 
tories were established by them at Alex- 
andria, Aleppo, Damascus, and the different 

* Robert Thorne, anEnglish merchant, having dur- 
ing a long residence at Seville acquired considerable 
knowledge of the benefits derived by Portugal from 
the Indian trade, memorialised Henry VIII. on the 
subject, urging the advantages which England might 
attain from the same source, and suggesting three 
courses to be pursued ; — either by the north-east, 
which he imagined would lead them to " the regions 
of all the Tartarians that extend toward the mid- 
day," and thence "to the land of the Chinas and the 
land of Cathaio Orientall ;" from which, if they con- 
tinued their navigation, they might " fall in with 
Malacca" and return to England by the Cape of 
Good Hope. The second course, to the north-west, 
would lead them, he said, "by the back of the New- 
found-land, which of late was discovered by your 
grace's subjects," and pursuing which they might re- 
turn through the Straits of Magellan (discovered six 
years before.) The third course lay over the North 
Pole, after passing which he suggested that they 
should " goe right toward the Pole Antarctike, and 
then decline towards the lands and islands situated be- 
tween the tropikes and under the equinoctiall ;" and 
" without doubt they shall find there the richest 
lands and islands of the world of gold, precious 
stones, balmes, spices, and other things that we here 
esteem most." — (Hakluyt, vol. i., p. 235.) The con- 
sequence of this memorial was the sending of two 
vessels by private merchants in 1527, which re- 
turned very shortly without success (Hakluyt, 
iii., 167), and two by the king in the same year, of 
which one was lost off the north coast of Newfound- 
land, and the other effected nothing. — (Purchas' 
Pilgrims, iii., 809.) 

2 D 

. and VIII., and EDWARD VI. 197 

ports of Egypt and the Turkish dominions. 
Their growing importance did not however 
extinguish, but rather increased the general 
desire for more direct communication with 
India and China; and in 1549, Sebastian 
Cabot, the son of John Cabot, who had ac- 
companied his father in the expedition of 
1497, and had since attempted the discovery 
of the much- desired line of route, persuaded 
a number of London merchants to raise a 
capital of £6,000 in shares of £25 each, 
for the prosecution of a new voyage of dis- 
covery and trading adventure. The young 
king Edward VI., to whose notice Sebastian 
had been previously introduced by the pro- 
tector Somerset, had bestowed on him an 
annual pension of £166, and made him 
grand pilot of England. He now gave every 
encouragement to the infant association. 
No time was lost in fitting out three vessels, 
which were dispatched under the command 
of Sir Hugh Willoughby, in May, 1553, 
and furnished with " Letters Missive" from 
King Edward to the sovereigns of northern 
Europe, bespeaking their protection for his 
subjects in their peaceful but perilous enter- 
prise. { The court, then at Greenwich, as- 
sembled to witness the departure of the 
little squadron : vast crowds of people lined 
the shore ; and the roar of cannon, and the 

f Hakluyt states, that between 1511 and 1534, 
" divers tall ships of London, Southampton, and 
Bristol had an ordinary and usual trade " to Sicily, 
Candia, Chios, and somewhiles to Cyprus ; as also to 
Tripoli and Beyrout, in Syria. The exports, as 
proved by the ledgers of Locke, Bowyer, Gresham 
and other merchants, were " fine kersies of divers 
colours, coarse kersies, &c. ;" the imports, silks, 
camlets, rhubarb, malmsey, muscatel, &c. Foreign 
as well as English vessels were employed, " namely, 
Candiots, Raguseans, Genouezes, Venetian galliases, 
Spanish and Portugall ships." (ii., 207.) 

\ The religious spirit in which the project was 
conceived is forcibly evidenced by the instructions 
drawn up by Cabot, for what Fuller truly remarks 
" may be termed the first reformed fleet which had 
English prayers and preaching therein." ( Worthies 
of England, Derbyshire, of which county Willoughby 
was a native.) Swearing and gambling were made 
punishable offences, and " morning and evening 
prayer, with other common services appointed by 
the king's majesty and laws of this realm to be read 
and said in every ship daily by the minister in the 
Admiral [flag-ship], and the merchant, or some other 
person learned in other ships ; and the Bible or 
paraphrases to be read devoutly and Christianly to 
God's honour, and for his grace to be obtained, and 
had by humble and hearty prayer of the navigants 
accordingly." — (Hakluyt, i., 254.) This daily prayer 
on board ship was long an acknowledged duty ; and 
in 1580, in the directions of the Russian company, the 
mariners are enjoined, as a matter of course, " to 
observe good order in your daily service and pray 
unto God; so shall you prosper the better." 


shouts of the mariners, filled the air : yet 1 
the ceremony seemed inauspicious ; for the 
youthful monarch, on whom the eyes of, 
Protestant Christendom waited hopefully, 
and who felt so deep an interest in the 
whole proceeding, lay prostrate in an ad- 
vanced stage of that insidious disease, which 
then as now, yearly robbed England of many 
of her noblest sons and fairest daughters. 
Sir Hugh, and the whole ship's company 
of the Buona Ventura, were frozen to death 
near Lapland ;* Captain Chancelor, the 
second in command, reached a Russian port 
(where Archangel was afterwards built), and 
proceeded thence to Moscow. The czar, 
Ivan Vasilivich, received him with great 
kindness, and furnished him with letters 
to Edward VI., bearing proposals for the 
establishment of commercial relations be- 
tween the two countries. These were gladly 
accepted by Mary, who had in the inte- 
rim ascended the throne ; and a ratification 
of the charter promised by Edward to the 
company was granted by the queen and her 
ill-chosen consort, in 1554. f Chancelor was 
again sent out in the following year with 
agents and factors, and on his return, an 
ambassador accompanied him to England, 
in saving whose life in a storm off the 
Scottish coast, Chancelor lost his own. % 
This is an exceptional instance of encourage- 
ment given by the Crown to commercial 
enterprise during this short and sanguinary 
reign ; nor, indeed, could Mary, as the wife 
of the bigotted Philip of Spain, herself a 
stanch and unscrupulous adherent of the 
Romish creed, be expected to patronize 

* When the extreme cold ceased, the peasants of 
the country found the body of Sir Hugh in his 
cabin, seated as if in the act of writing his journal, 
which, with his will, lay before him, and testified his 
having been alive in January, 1554. 

f The Russian company, probably the first char- 
tered joint-stock association on record, exists to the 
present day — at least in name. 

% The Russian ambassador, Osep Napea, returned 
to his own country in the last year of Mary's reign, 
and was accompanied by Anthony Jenkinson, who 
represented the company, and was instructed to at- 
tempt the extension of their trade through Russia to 
Persia and Bactria. By permission of the czar, Jen- 
kinson quitted Moscow in April, 1558, and pro- 
ceeded by Novogorod and the Volga river to Astra- 
can, on the north of the Caspian : he then crossed 
that sea, and on its southern shores joined a caravan 
of Tartars, with which he traveiled along the banks 
of the Oxus to Bokhara, and having there ob- 
tained much valuable information for his employers, 
returned to England (by Moscow) in 1560. In the 
following year, Queen Elizabeth dispatched him 
with letters to the SufFavi or Sophi, king of Persia 
(Shah Abbas I.), requesting his sanction for her sub- 

any adventure likely to trench upon the 
monopoly which the pope had assumed to 
himself the power of bestowing on her 
husband : the only cause for surprise is, 
that her signature should ever have been 
obtained to the charter of the Russian 
company, though probably it was a con- 
cession granted to the leading Protestant 
nobles, whose support she had secured at 
a critical moment by her promise (soon 
shamelessly broken) of making no attempt 
for the re-establishment of a dominant 
priesthood in England. 

It was reserved for her sister and succes- 
sor Elizabeth, alike free from the trammels 
of Rome and the alliance of Spain, to en- 
courage and aid her subjects in that course 
of maritime and commercial enterprise, 
whose importance she so justly appreciated. 
The early part of her reign abounded 
with political and social difficulties; — foes 
abroad, rebellion in Ireland, discord at 
home, gave full and arduous employment 
to the ministers, whose energy and ability 
best evidenced the wisdom of the mistress 
who selected and retained such servants. 
The finances of the nation did not warrant 
any large expenditure which should neces- 
sitate the imposition of increased taxation 
for an uncertain result : it was therefore 
from private persons, either individually or 
in societies, that commercial adventures 
were to be expected. The Russian com- 
pany renewed their efforts for the discovery 
of a north-east passage, and records of seve- 
ral voyages undertaken under their auspices 
are still extant ; but it does not appear that 

jects to open a trade in his dominions for the sale 
of their goods, and the purchase of raw silk and 
other commodities. The jealousy and intrigues of 
some Turkish agents, who were then engaged in 
concluding a treaty with the Shah at the fortified 
city of Casvin (where the Persian court then was), 
frustrated the mission of the English envoy, and 
even endangered his life ; so that he was glad to 
make his escape through the friendly interposition 
of the king of Hyrcania, who furnished him with 
credentials granting various commercial privileges 
to such English as might desire to traffic in, or 
traverse his dominions on the southern shore of the 
Caspian. In 1566, another agent, named Arthur 
Edwards, was sent to Persia, and succeeded in ob- 
taining from the czar permission for Englishmen 
to trade in his dominions with immunity from tolls 
or customs on their merchandise, and protection for 
their persons and property. In the same year the 
Russian company obtained from Elizabeth a charter 
with additional privileges, in reward for their ex- 
plorations in the Caspian Sea, Armenia, Media, 
Hyrcania (Astrabad), and Persia, which it was 
hoped might lead to the ultimate discovery of " the 
country of Cathaia."— (Hakluyt, i., 414 — 410.) 



either queen or people cared to defy the 
fleets of Spain by sailing round the Cape 
of Good Hope, until Sir Francis Drake, in 
1577, having fitted out five ships at his own 
expense, left England and sailed through 
the straits of Magellan, into the south seas,* 
where he acquired immense booty from the 
Spaniards. The news reaching Europe, a 
strong force was sent to intercept him, 
but information of the danger enabled him 
to avoid it by changing his route, and after 
visiting Ternate (one of the Moluccas), 
forming a treaty with the king, and taking 
part in some hostilities between the natives 
and the Portuguese, Drake shipped a large 
quantity of cloves, and proceeded round the 
Cape to England, where he arrived at the 
close of 1580, with a single shattered vessel, 
having been the first of his nation to cir- 
cumnavigate the globe. 

The Turkey Company, established by 
charter in 1581, sent four representatives 
to India, through Syria, Bagdad, and Ormuz, 
whence they carried some cloths, tin, and 
other goods to Goa, and proceeded to visit 
Lahore, Agra, Bengal, Pegu, and Malacca, 
meeting everywhere with kindness from the 
natives, and opposition from the Portuguese. 
Of the envoys, Fitch alone returned to 
England (in 1591);t Newberry died in the 
Punjaub; Leades, a jeweller by profession, 
entered the service of the Emperor Akbar ; 
and Storey became a monk at Goa. In 1586, 
Captain Cavendish commenced his voyage 
round the globe, and on the v^ay, scrupled 
not to seize and plunder whenever he had 
the opportunity, either by sea or land. He 
returned home in less than two years 
flushed with success, and some years after 
attempted a similar privateering expedition 
(for it was little better), from which he 
never returned, but died at sea, worn out 
by a succession of disasters. The voyages 
of Drake and Cavendish had brought mat- 
ters to a crisis : the Spanish government 
complained of the infringement of their 
exclusive rights of navigating the Indian 
seas ;% to which Elizabeth replied — " It is as 
lawful for my subjects to do this as the 
Spaniards, since the sea and air are common 

* He anchored in a bay (supposed to be that now 
called Port San Francisco) on the coast of Califor- 
nia, and landing, took possession of the country in the 
name of Queen Elizabeth, calling it " Nova Albion." 

t Fitch published a narrative of his adventures, 
■which greatly stimulated public curiosity on the 
subject; and this feeling was increased by the ac- 
counts sent from India by an Englishman, named 
Stevens, who had proceeded thither in a Portuguese 

to all men." The defeat of the so-called 
Invincible Armada, in 1588, rendered the 
English and their brave queen more than 
ever unwilling to give place to the arrogant 
pretensions of their foes ; and in 1591, some 
London merchants dispatched three vessels 
to India by the Cape of Good Hope, under 
the command of Captains Raymond and 
Lancaster. A contest with some Portu- 
guese ships, though successful, eventually 
ruined the expedition by the delay it occa- 
sioned ; one of the vessels was compelled to 
put back in consequence of the sickness of 
the crew and the difficulties encountered in 
weathering the " Cape of Storms — the 
second, under Raymond, is supposed to 
have perished ; — the third, under Lancaster, 
reached Sumatra and Ceylon, and obtained a 
cargo of pepper and other spiceries, but 
was subsequently lost in a storm at Mona, 
one of the West India isles. The captain 
and the survivors of the ship's company were 
rescued by a French vessel bound to San 
Domingo, and reached England in May, 
1594. In the meanwhile, mercantile enter- 
prise had received a fresh stimulus by the 
capture of a Portuguese carrack, profanely 
called Madre de Dios, of 1,600 tons burden, 
with thirty-six brass cannons mounted. 
This vessel, the largest yet seen in Eng- 
land, was taken by Sir John Burroughs, 
after an obstinate contest near the Azores, 
and brought into Dartmouth. The cargo, 
consisting of spices, calicoes, silks, gold, 
pearls, drugs, china-ware, &c, was valued 
by the lowest estimate at £150,000. This 
display of oriental wealth incited Sir Robert 
Dudley and some other gentlemen to fit out 
three ships, which sailed for China in 1596, 
bearing royal credentials addressed to the 
sovereign of that country, vouching for the 
probity of the adventurers, and offering the 
fullest protection to such Chinese subjects as 
might be disposed to open a trade in any 
English port. This expedition proved even 
more disastrous than the preceding one. 
After capturing three Portuguese vessels, 
the English crews became so fearfully re- 
duced by disease, that out of three ships' 
companies, only four men remained alive. 

vessel from Lisbon. According to Camden, a Por- 
tuguese carrack, captured by Drake off the Azores 
in 1587, and brought to England, contained various 
documents regarding the nature and value of the 
India trade, which first inspired English merchants 
with a desire to prosecute it on their own account. 

X By the union of Spain and Portugal, the papal 
grants of eastern and western discoveries centred 
in one crown. 


These unfortunates were cast on shore on a 
small island near Puerto Rico, where three 
of them were murdered by a party of Spa- 
niards, for the sake of the treasure they had 
with them, and only one survived to divulge 
the crime to the Spanish officers of justice, 
soon after which he was poisoned by the 
same robbers who had murdered his ship- 
mates. The public enthusiasm was some- 
what damped by the dense cloud which long 
shrouded the calamitous issue of this expe- 
dition ; but the successful adventures of the 
Dutch (see p. 196), and their grasping policy 
fn raising the price of pepper from three to 
six aud eight shillings per lb. (the cost in 
India being two to three pence), induced the 
merchants of London — headed by the lord 
mayor and aldermen — to hold a meeting at 
Founders'-hall, on the 22nd of September, 
1599,* which resulted in the formation of a 
company, for the purpose of setting on foot 
a voyage to the East Indies.f The stock 
embarked, then considered a large one, of 
£30,133 6s. 8c?., was divided into 101 shares 
or adventures, the subscriptions of indi- 
viduals varying from £100 to £3,000. The 
queen was ever zealous in promoting similar 
projects, hut in this instance there was need 
of deliberation. Elizabeth well knew the 
value of peace to a trading nation, and de- 
layed granting the charter of incorporation 
solicited by the company, until it should be 
proved how far their interests could be pru- 
dently consulted in the course of the friendly 
negotiations newly opened by Spain through 
the mediation of France. The treaty how- 

* At the commencement of this year a merchant, 
named John Mildenhall, was dispatched (by way of 
Constantinople) to the Great Mogul, to solicit, in 
the name of his sovereign, certain trading privileges 
for his countrymen. He did not reach Agra till 
the year 1603, and was there long delayed and put 
to great expense by the machinations of the Jesuits 
then residing at the court of the Great Mogul, 
aided by two Italian (probably Venetian) merchants ; 
but he eventually succeeded in obtaining from Je- 
hangeer the desired grant in 1606. 

f At a subsequent meeting, a committee of fifteen 
persons was appointed to present a petition to the 
lords of the Privy Council, setting forth that, " stimu- 
lated by the success which has attended the voyage 
to the East Indies by the Dutch, and finding the 
Dutch are projecting another voyage, for which they 
have bought ships in England, the merchants hav- 
ing the same regard to the welfare of this kingdom, 
that the Dutch have to their commonwealth, have 
resolved upon making a voyage of adventure, and 
for this purpose entreat her Majesty will grant them 
letters patent of incorporation, succession, &c, for 
that the trade being so far remote from hence, can- 
not be managed but by a joint and united stock." 

X Thomas Smith, alderman of London, and an active 

ever soon fell to the ground, in consequence 
of a disputed question of precedency between 
the English and Spanish commissioners at 
Boulogne. The discussion of the East India 
question was eagerly resumed both in the 
city and at court ; and on the last day of 
the 16th century, Elizabeth signed a charter 
on behalf of about 220 gentlemen, mer- 
chants, and other individuals of repute, con- 
stituting them "one bodie- corporate and 
politique indeed," by the name of " The 
Governor and Company of Merchants of 
London trading into the East Indies."J 

A petition was addressed to the Privy 
Council for their sanction that "the voyage 
might be proceeded upon without any hin- 
drance, notwithstanding the treaty but 
they " declined granting such a warrant, as 
deeming it more beneficial for the general 
state of merchandise to entertain a peace, than 
that the same should be hindered by standing 
with the Spanish commissioners for the main- 
tenance of this trade, and thereby forego the 
opportunity of concluding the peace.'^ 

It was a fitting conclusion for a century 
of extraordinary progress, and also for a 
reign, characterised throughout by measures 
of unrivalled political sagacity. The ablest 
sovereign (perhaps excepting Alfred) the 
realm had ever known, was soon to be taken 
away under very melancholy circumstances. 
The death of Lord Burleigh, and the rebel- 
lion of Essex, were trials which the failing 
strength and over-taxed energies of the 
queen could ill withstand ; and she died in 
November, 1603, a powerful and beloved 

member of the Turkey company, was declared first 
governor. Among the other names mentioned in the 
charter are those of George, Earl of Cumberland ; 
Sirs — John Hart, John Spencer, Edward Michel- 
borne, Kichard Staper, and ten other citizens and 
aldermen of London, and two hundred and six in- 
dividuals of repute, who petitioned for the " royal 
assent and license to be granted unto them, that 
they, at their own adventures, costs, and charges, as 
well as for the honour of this our realm of Eng- 
land, as for the increase of our navigation and ad- 
vancement of trade of merchandise within our said 
realms and the dominions of the same, might set 
forth one or more voyages, with convenient number of 
ships and pinnaces, by way of traffic and merchan- 
dise to the East Indies and countries of Asia and 
Africa, and to as many of the islands, ports and 
cities, towns and places thereabouts, as where trade 
and traffic may by all likelihood be discovered, es- 
tablished or had, divers of which countries and 
many of the islands, cities, and ports thereof have 
long since been discovered by others of our sub- 
jects, albeit not frequented in trade of merchandise." 
— (See quarto vol. of Charters granted to the East 
India Company from 1601, &c, pp. 4, 5.) 
§ Milburn's Oriental Commerce, vol. i., p. 4. 


ruler, but a broken-hearted woman. As 
yet the commercial and colonial enterprises, 
commenced under her auspices, had pro- 
l duced no tangible results, so far as terri- 
torial aggrandisement was concerned. Eng- 
lish merchants had, it is true, even then be- 
come "the honourable of the earth;" and 
English ships had compassed the world, 
bearing their part manfully in the perilous 
voyages of the age, in the icy straits of 
Greenland and Labrador, uplifting the 
national flag on the shores of Virginia and 
Newfoundland,* amid the isles of the West 
Indies,f and the coasts of Brazil, Guiana, 
and Peru. The straits of Magellan, the 
broad expanse of the Pacific and Indian 
Oceans, had mirrored that standard on their 
waves ; and for a brief season it had floated 
upon the Caspian Sea, and been carried along 
the banks of the Oxus. In the ports and 
marts of the Adriatic, the Archipelago, the 
Levant, and the southern coasts of the Medi- 
terranean, it became a familiar visitant, as it 
had long been to the traffickers of the Canary 
Isles, and dwellers on the shores of Guinea 
and Benin; J and lastly, pursuing its way to 
the isles and continents of the East, it floated 
hopefully past the Southern Cape of Africa. § 
The initiatory measures are ever those which 
most severely task the weakness and sel- 
fishness of human nature : energy, fore- 
thought, patience — all these qualities, and 
many more, are essential ingredients in the 
characters of those who aspire to lay the 
foundation of an edifice, which future gene- 
rations must be left to bring to perfection. 
In the history of the world, such "master 
builders" are comparatively few : more com- 
monly, we find men carrying on the struc- 
ture of national progress with scarcely a 
thought beyond their individual interests, 
each one labouring for himself, like the coral 
insects, who live and die unconscious of the 
mighty results of their puny labours. Nor 
is this blindness on the part of the majority 

* North American Possessions, vol. i., pp. 292-3. 

f West Indian Possessions, vol. iv. (div. viii.), 
p. 1 5. The Rev. James Anderson, in enumerating the 
exploratory proceedings of England, truly remarks, 
that " the foundations of her future greatness were 
laidin the very efforts whichhadappearedso fruitless." 
— {History of the Colonial Church, vol. i., p. 123.) 

J Repeated efforts were made for the extension of 
commerce with Africa. In 1572, a treaty between 
England and Portugal provided for the better ad- 
justment of the intercourse of their respective sub- 
jects with the western shores of Africa; in 1585, the 
queen granted a patent to Robert, Earl of Leicester, 
for the management of the trade with Barbary and 
Morocco : and in 1588, and 1592, some merchants 

P ENGLAND IN 1600. 201 

to be regretted, while the minority — those 
on whom the steering of the vessel of the 
state more or less evidently devolves — afford 
such constant illustrations of the fallible and 
unsatisfactory character of human policy. 
Thus, even in attributing to Elizabeth the pre- 
eminence in patriotism and statesmanship, 
in zeal for religious truth and liberty ; — the 
excellence ascribed is at best only compara- 
tive, since her administration was deeply 
stained by the besetting sin of civilised gov- 
ernments — " clever diplomacy," or, in plain 
words, that constant readiness to take 
advantage of the weakness or ignorance of 
other nations, which, among individuals, 
would be stigmatised as grasping, overreach- 
ing, and unjust, even by those who do not 
profess to judge actions by any loftier 
standard than the ordinary customs and 
opinions of society. This admixture of un- 
worthy motives is probably often the cause 
of the failure of many well-devised schemes : 
it may account, to some minds, for the career 
of Elizabeth terminating when the projects 
she had cherished were on the eve of deve- 
lopment; when England was about to enter 
on a course of annually increasing territo- 
rial, commercial, and maritime prosperity, 
often, however, checked rather than encou- 
raged, by the weakness, selfishness, or pre- 
judice of her rulers. 

The original charter bestowed on the East 
India Company manifested a prudent regard 
for the prevention of disputes with other 
European powers, or with previously incor- 
porated English companies, and reserved to 
the Crown the power of accommodating the 
Indian trade to the contingencies of foreign 
politics, or of the trade carried on by its 
subjects with neighbouring countries. The 
charter was granted for fifteen years ; but if 
the exclusive privileges thereby conferred 
should be found disadvantageous to the 
general interests of the country, it might be 
revoked upon two years' notice : if, on the 

of Exeter and Taunton were empowered to traffic 
with Sierra Leone and the Gold Coast. In 1597, we 
find the ^indefatigable Elizabeth seeking commercial 
privileges from " the most invincible and puissant 
king of the Abassens (Abyssinians), the mightie 
emperor of Ethiopia, the higher and the lower.' 

§ The Russian company desired, by an overland 
trade, to connect the imports from Persia with those 
from the Baltic ; the Levant company, which traded 
with the Mediterranean ports, brought thence, among 
its assortments, a proportion of Indian produce, the 
value of which might be affected by the imports 
brought into England or for the European market, 
by the direct intercourse, though circuitous routes, 
of the company. — (Brace's Annals of E. I. Cy.) 


contrary, the result should prove of public 
benefit, new letters patent were to be granted 
at the expiration of the first period, for other 
fifteen years.* With these needful limita- 
tions, great encouragement was given to 
the association ; notwithstanding which, the 
delay occasioned by the Spanish negotiation 
had so far damped the enterprise of some of 
the individual adventurers, that they refused 
to pay their proffered subscriptions; and the 
directors, acting under the charter (in which 
no amount of capital was prescribed, as in 
the case of modern documents of a similar 
character), appear to have wanted power to 
compel them to do so, or else to have 
deemed its exercise imprudent. The conse- 
quence was, the formation of a subordinate 
association, endued with authority to adven- 
ture on their own account, providing the 
funds, and either bearing the whole loss, or 
reaping the whole profit of the voyage. A 
new body of speculators was thus admitted, 

* Under the chafter, the plan which they had 
already adopted for the management of their affairs, 
by a committee of twenty-four and a chairman, both 
to be chosen annually, was confirmed and rendered 
obligatory. The chief permissive clauses were as 
follow : — the company were empowered to make 
bye-laws for the regulation of their business, and of 
the people in their employment, whose offences they 
might punish by imprisonment or fine ; — to export 
goods for four voyages duty free, and duties after- 
wards paid on goods lost at sea to be deducted from 
dues payable on next shipment; — six months' credit 
to be allowed on custom dues of half imports, and 
twelve months for the remainder, with free exporta- 
tion for thirteen months (by English merchants in 
English vessels) ; — liberty to transport Spanish and 
other foreign silver coin and bullion to the value 
of £30,000, of which £6,000 was to be coined at the 
Tower, and the same sum in any subsequent voyage 
during fifteen years, or the continuance of their 
privileges, provided that within six months after 
every voyage except the first, gold and silver equal 
in value to the exported silver should be duly im- 
ported, and entered at the ports of London, Dart- 
mouth and Plymouth, where alone the bullion was 
to be shipped. The monopoly of the company was 
confirmed by a clause enacting, that interlopers in 
the East India trade should be subject to the for- 
feiture of their ships and cargoes, one-half to go to 
the Crown, the other to the company, and to suffer 
imprisonment and such other punishment as might 
be decreed by the Crown, until they should have 
signed a bond engaging, under a penalty of £1,000 
at the least, " not to sail or traffic into any of the 
said East Indies" without special license from the 
company. Another clause affords evidence of the 
condition of the state by guaranteeing, that " in any 
time of restraint," six good ships and as many pin- 
naces, well-armed and manned with 500 English 
sailors, should be permitted to depart " without any 
stay or contradiction," unless the urgent necessities 
of the kingdom, in the event of war, should require 
their detention, in which case three months' notice 

by whom £68,373 were subscribed, and five 
vesselsf equipped, manned by 500 men, pro- 
visioned for twenty months, at a cost of 
£6,600, and furnished with bullion and 
various staples and manufactures wherewith 
to try the Indian market. The command 
was entrusted to Captain James Lancaster, 
who received from the queen general letters 
of introduction addressed to the rulers of 
the ports to which he might resort. The 
fleet sailed from Torbay on April 22, 1601, 
and proceeded direct to Acheen,J which 
they reached on June 5, 1602; a voyage 
now usually accomplished in ninety days. 

Captain Lancaster, on his arrival, delivered 
the queen's letter to the king or chief of 
Acheen, who received him with much pomp 
and courtesy, and accorded permission to 
establish a factory, with free exports and 
imports, protection to trade, power of be* 
queathing property by will, and other privi- 
leges of an independent community. But 

would be given to the company. — (Charters of East 
India Company, p. 21.) 

f The Dragon, Hector, Ascension, Susan, and 
Guest, of 600, 300, 260, 240, and 100 tons re- 
spectively, the smallest serving as a victualler ; the 
others are described by Sir William Monson as 
" four of the best merchant ships in the kingdom." 
According to the same authority, there were not in 
England, at this period, more than four vessels of 
400 tons each. In 1580, the total number of ves- 
sels in the navy was 150, of which only forty be- 
longed to the Crown : a like number was employed 
in trade with different countries, the average bur- 
den being 150 tons. At the bpginning of the six- 
teenth century, it appears that wars with Spain, and 
losses by capture, had reduced both shipping and sea- 
men one-third. The small English squadron seemed 
insufficient to enter on a traffic in which the Por- 
tuguese had long been in the habit of employing 
vessels of 1,200 to 1,500 tons burden : in its 
equipment £39,771 were expended, the cargoes were 
estimated at £28,742 in bullion, and £6,860 in 
various goods, including iron and tin wrought and 
unwrought, lead, eighty pieces of broad-cloth of all 
colours, eighty pieces of Devonshire kersies, 100 
pieces of Norwich stuffs, with various smaller articles, 
including glass, quicksilver, Muscovy hides, and 
other things intended as presents for different local 
functionaries. Factors and supercargoes were nomi- 
nated, and divided into four classes: all gave secu- 
rity for fidelity and abstinence from private trade in 
proportionate sums of £500 downwards. Three of the 
principal factors were allowed £100 each as equip- 
ment, and £200 for an " adventure j" and four of 
each of the other classes smaller sums. The salary 
of each commander was £100, and £200 on credit 
for an adventure. If the profits of the voyage 
yielded two for one, they were to be allowed £500 ; 
if three for one, £1,000; if four for one, £1,500; 
and if five for one, £2,000. — (Bruce's Annals, vol. i., 
p. 129.) 

X Situate on the N.W. extremity of the large 
island of Sumatra, in 5° 36' N. lat, 95° 26' E. long. 


the crop of pepper having failed in the pre- 
ceding season, a sufficient quantity could 
not be obtained in that port; and Lancaster, 
impressed with a conviction of the influence 
the pecuniary results of the first voyage 
would have upon the future prosecution of 
the trade, concerted measures with the com- 
mander of a Dutch ship, then at Acheen, 
for hostilities against their joint foe, the 
Portuguese.* A carrack of 900 tons was 
captured, and her cargo, consisting of cali- 
coes and other Indian manufactures, having 
been divided between the conquering ves- 
sels, the Portuguese crew were left in pos- 
session of their rifled ship, and the Dutch and 
English commanders went their way. Lan- 
caster proceeded to Bantam, in Java, where, 
after delivering his credentials and presents, 
he completed his lading with spices, and 
leaving the remaining portion of his mer- 
chandise for sale in charge of some agents, 
sailed homewards, arriving off the Downs in 
September, 1603. 

The company awaited his return with ex- 
treme anxiety. They delayed making pre- 
parations for a fresh voyage until the result 
of the first venture should appear, and per- 
sisted in this resolve, notwithstanding the 
representations of the privy council, and 
even of the queen, who considered their 
delay an infraction of the terms on which 
the charter had been granted, and reminded 
them of the energy and patriotism of the 
Dutch, who annually formed their equipments 
and extended their commerce by unceas- 
ing exertion. The safe return of the fleet, 

* What authority Captain Lancaster possessed for 
this proceeding does not appear, but it is probable 
that he acted according to permission granted for a 
similar conjuncture ; because the queen, being unable 
to retaliate the attack of the Armada on her own 
behalf, by reason of the condition of the treasury, 
permitted private adventurers to fit out expeditions 
against the national foe both by sea and land. Such 
was the squadron of about 100 vessels, 1,500 sailors, 
and 11,000 soldiers, under Sir F. Drake and Sir 
John Norris, in 1589, which ravaged and plundered 
the coasts of Spain and Portugal ; and that of several 
ships under the personal command of George Clif- 
ford, Earl of Cumberland, in the same year, to the 
Azores or Western Isles, where much booty was 
obtained. From this period may be dated English 
" privateering," which soon degenerated into " buc- 
caneering and which James I. deserves much 
praise for his endeavours to check. 

f Elizabeth was dead, and London afflicted with 
I the plague ; everybody who could leave it, had taken 
j refuge in the country ; and in the general disorder it 
| was next to impossible to raise money either by 
borrowing or by sales of merchandise. 

\ In 1604, King James granted a license to Sir 
Edward Michelborne and others to trade with China 

though at an inopportune moment,f put an 
end to all incertitude regarding the feasi- 
bility of the projected trade ; and notwith- 
standing the difficulties occasioned by the 
encouragement given by the king to the at- 
tempts of private adventurers, in violation 
of the fifteen years' monopoly promised by 
the charter,:): and the enmity of the Portu- 
guese, — to which the tacit and afterwards 
open opposition of the Dutch was soon 
added, — the company continued to fit out 
separate expeditions on the same terms as 
the first, until the year 1614, when the 
twelfth was undertaken by a single ship, 
chiefly for the purpose of carrying out Sir 
Robert Shirley, who had been sent as am- 
bassador to the English sovereign by Shah 
Abbas of Persia. The total capital expended 
in these voyages was £464,284; of which 
£263,246 had been invested in shipping 
and stores, £138,127 in bullion, and £62,411 
in merchandise. Notwithstanding losses 
(including a disastrous expedition in 1607, 
in which both vessels perished), the general 
result was prosperous, the total profit reach- 
ing 138 per cent. ; but it must be remem- 
bered that a period of six or seven years 
and upwards elapsed before the proceeds of 
a voyage could be finally adjusted, and that 
the receipts included the profits of a ship- 
builder and purveyor, or " ship's husband," 
as well as of a merchant. 

In 1613, it was deemed advisable to re- 
nounce all separate adventures, and continue 
the trade on a joint-stock account ; this, 
however, being itself an experiment, was 

and various East Indian ports. The undertaking 
was little better than a series of petty piracies, com- 
mitted upon Chinese junks and small Indian ves- 
sels encountered in cruising among the Asiatic 
islands; but is memorable as marking the appear- 
ance of the interlopers or private traders, whose dis- 
putes with the company afterwards ran so high. 
This very Michelborne had been recommended by 
the lord-treasurer for employment to the company ; 
but although then petitioning for a charter, the 
directors rejected the application, and requested that 
they might " be allowed to sort their business with 
men of their own qualitye, lest the suspicion of the 
employment of gentlemen being taken hold of by 
the generalitie, do dryve a great number of the ad- 
venturers to withdraw their contributions." — (Bruce's 
Annals of the East India Company, vol. i., p. 128.) 
The same determined spirit was evinced on the pre- 
sent occasion ; and they succeeded in obtaining an- 
other charter in 1609, in which, departing from the 
cautious policy of his predecessor, the king confirmed 
the exclusive privileges of the company, not for a 
limited term of years, but for ever, provided how- 
ever that the trade should prove beneficial to the 
realm, otherwise the charter was to be annulled, on 
giving three years' notice. — (Idem, p. 157.) 



fixed for the term of only four years; during 
which time, the stipulated capital of £429,000 
was to be paid up in equal annual propor- 
tions. This union was generally beneficial 
in its effects, by preventing the international 
competition resulting from the clashing in- 
terests of parties concerned in the different 
voyages, whether in the Indian market or 
in England, where the imports were either 
sold by public auction, or divided among the 
adventurers in kind, as was best suited to 
the interests of the leading persons in the 
separate concerns ; and it often happened 
that private accommodation was studied at 
the expense of the general good. Besides 
these inconveniences, it was necessary that 
some specific line of policy should be adopted, 
for the general direction of the trade and the 
control and guidance of individual com- 
manders ; since it was evident that the 
interested and impolitic conduct of one ex- 
pedition might seriously impede the success 
of subsequent voyages. 

The proceedings of Sir Henry Middleton 
will illustrate this. Up to 1609, the inter- 
course of the English had been exclusively 
with Sumatra, Java, and Amboyna; an at- 
tempt was then made to open a trade with 
woollens, metals, and other British com- 
modities, in barter for spices and drugs, in 
the ports of the Red Sea, Cambay, and 
Surat. At Aden and Mocha, they were 
opposed by the Turks, and Middleton with 
seventy men made prisoners. They suc- 
ceeded in effecting their escape, and pro- 
ceeded to Surat, where a forcible landing 
was effected, in defiance of the Portuguese, 
who, however, induced the Moguls to pre- 

* The company, finding themselves unable to 
charter vessels of sufficient burden either in England 
or elsewhere, formed a dockyard at Deptford ; and 
in 1609 launched, in the words of Sir William Mon- 
son, " the goodliest and greatest ship [1,100 tons] 
that was ever framed in this kingdom." King James, 
with his son (afterwards Charles I.), presided at the 
launch, named the vessel the Trade's Increase, and 
partook of a sumptuous banquet served on China- 
ware, then considered a rare mark of eastern mag- 
nificence. From this period may be dated the in- 
crease of large ships ; for the king about this time 
caused a man-of-war to be constructed of 1,400 tons 
burden, carrying sixty-four guns, called the Prince. 
From 1609 to 1640 the company continued to ex- 
ercise the now separate vocations of ship-builders, 
purveyors, &c. In their yards at Deptford and 
Blackwall, not only were vessels constructed of 
700, 800, 900, and in one instance (the Royal Ja?nes) 
of 1,200 tons burden, but their masts, yards, an- 
chors, sails, cordage, and entire outfit were prepared ; 
the bread was baked, the meat salted and casked, 
and the various departments which, by the present 
improved system, are subdivided into many distinct 

vent their attempts at commerce. About 
this time, the envoy (Hawkins) dispatched 
by the company to seek the imperial con- 
firmation of the trading privileges promised 
to Mildenhall, threw up his suit in despair, 
and quitted Agra, after a residence of 
more than two years. Middleton returned 
to the Red Sea, and there seized upon 
several Mogul ships (including one of 1,500 
tons, fitted out by the mother of Jehangeer 
for the use of pilgrims), and obliged them 
to pay a ransom equivalent to his estimate 
of the loss occasioned by the frustration 
of his voyage. After lading two of his 
vessels with pepper at Bantam, he prepared 
to return homewards ; but his chief ship, 
the newly-built Trade's Increase* over- 
set in Bantam roads, and was totally des- 
troyed ; which so affected her commander, 
that he soon after died of vexation : the 
voyage, nevertheless, afforded £121 percent, 
profit on the capital employed. The un- 
warrantable aggression committed in the 
Red Sea had roused the indignation and 
alarm of the emperor; but the discre- 
tion of Captain Bestf was successfully 
exerted in obtaining permission to trade, 
through the intervention of the governor 
of Ahmedabad, whose concessions were ra- 
tified by an imperial firman, which arrived 
in January, 1613, authorising the esta- 
blishment of English factories at Surat, 
Ahmedabad, Cambay, and Goga, with pro- 
tection for life and property, on condition of 
the payment of a custom duty of three-and- 
a-half per cent. The Portuguese did not 
quietly witness the progress of this arrange- 
ment, but attacked the two vessels of Cap- 
branches of labour, were then brought to a con- 
siderable degree of perfection by the combined 
efforts of skill and capital possessed by the East 
India Company. As trade increased, ship-building 
became a distinct and profitable business ; and in 
1640 and subsequent years, the company were 
enabled to hire vessels at £20 to £25 per ton 
freight, whereas their own cost £31 per ton : thence- 
forth the commerce was carried on partly by their 
own and partly by hired ships; and eventually the 
dockyards were sold for private enterprise. 

f Captain Best visited Acheen in 1015, and as the 
bearer of a royal letter, formed a new treaty with 
its ruler, and obtained permission to establish a 
factory at Tikoo or Ticoo (in Sumatra), on condition 
of paying seven per cent, import and export duty. 
The monarch, who is represented as very fierce and 
sanguinary, replied to the communication of the 
English sovereign with a request, that he would 
send him one of his countrywomen for a wife, pro- 
mising to make her eldest son " king of all the 
pepper countries." No English lady appears to 
have taken advantage jf this offer ; and whether 
from disappointment or avarice, the king of Acheen 


tain Best, at Swally, near Surat, with a 
squadron of four galleons, and a number of 
smaller vessels without cannon, intended to 
assist in boarding, for which, however, they 
found no opportunity, being driven off with 
considerable loss, after a struggle of more 
than a month's duration.* 

The chief events which marked the four 
years' existence of the first joint-stock com- 
pany, was the embassy of Sir Thomas Roe,f 
who succeeded in obtaining from Jehan- 
geer liberty of trade for his countrymen 
throughout the empire ;| the formation of 
a treaty with the zamorin for the expulsion 
of the Portuguese from Cochin, which when 
conquered was to be ceded to the English ; 
and lastly, hostilities with the Dutch, which 
entailed losses and expense, whereby the 
total profits of the four voyages were reduced 
to eighty-seven per cent. This decreased 
dividend did not, however, prevent a new 
subscription being favourably received by 

impeded the trade of the Europeans by exactions ; 
and at length, in 1621, expelled both the Dutch and 
English factors ; but the intercourse was subse- 
quently resumed and carried on at intervals. 

* From 22nd of October to the 27th November, 
1812.— (Wilson's note on Mill's India, vol. i., p. 29.) 

f The mission of Sir Thomas Roe to Jehangeer 
has been already narrated (p. 123.) The incidents of 
his journey from Surat to Ajmeer evidence a com- 
parative state of order in the country traversed : 
whereas, the adventures which befel Withington, 
one of the company's agents, who set out from Ah- 
medabad to Laribunda, the port of Sinde, where 
three English ships had arrived, afford a far less 
favourable picture of the condition of the portion 
of India through which his route of about 500 
miles lay. The caravan with which he travelled 
was attacked in the night of the third stage, and 
" the next day he met the Mogul's officer returning 
with 250 heads of the Coolies," whom Mr. Orme sweep- 
in gly terms, " a nation of robbers;" and who in the 
opinion of Jehangeer seem to have merited nothing 
less than extermination. Many days were spent in 
crossing the desert, but no molestation occurred un- 
til the peopled country was reached, and the cara- 
van separated ; after which, Withington and his 
sixteen companions (four servants, two merchants 
with five servants, and five drivers to their ten 
camels) hired an escort for the march to Gundaiwa, 
which saved them from a band of robbers. Twice 
afterwards they were attacked, and compelled to 
purchase immunity from plunder by a small pre- 
sent. They next reached the residence of a Raj- 
poot chief, who had recently escaped from the hands 
of the Moguls, by whom he had been blinded. His 
son agreed to escort Withington to Tatta, a distance 
of only thirty miles, but fraught with danger ; and 
it would appear, from mere covetousness, acted in a 
manner quite contrary to the usual fidelity of a 
Hindoo, and especially of a Rajpoot guide, by trea- 
cherously delivering over the travellers to a party 
of marauders, who strangled the two Hindoo mer- 
chants and their five servants ; and binding Withing- 
ton and his attendants, marched them forty miles to 
2 E 

the public : dukes, earls, and knights, judges 
and privy counsellors, countesses and ladies, 
" widows and virgins," doctors of divinity 
and physic, merchants and tradesmen, are 
all classified in the list of the 954 indivi- 
duals, by whom a sum of no less than 
£1,629,040 (averaging £1,700 for each 
person) was furnished in 1616 for a new 
series of ventures, comprising three distinct 
voyages, to be undertaken in the four fol- 
lowing years. Surat and Bantam were to 
be the chief seats of trade, with factories 
at Ceylon, Siam, Japan, Maccassar, and 
Banda. A proposition had previously been 
made by the Dutch for a union of trade with 
the English, that common cause might be 
made against the Spanish-Portuguese, and 
a monopoly secured to the combined com- 
panies. This offer was repeated in 1617, on 
the plea of the rivalry about to arise from 
the formation of an East India association 
in France§, and likewise in Denmark ;|| but 

a mountain stronghold, whence they were sent to 
Parker, and thence on to Radenpore : their clothes 
were stolen from them on the way, and they sub- 
sisted by begging, until their wants were relieved 
by the charity of a Banian, whom Withington had 
known at Ahmedabad, which place he reached, " after 
a distressful absence of 111 days." — (Orme's Origin 
of the English Establishment, and of the Company's 
trade at Surat and Broach, p. 334.) 
X Vide pp. 123-4. 

§ The French are said to have made an unsuccess- 
ful endeavour to double the Cape of Good Hope as 
early as 1503 : in 1601 a small commercial associa- 
tion was formed in Bretagne. Two vessels were fitted 
out and dispatched to the East Indies : both were 
wrecked amid the Maldive Archipelago near Cey- 
lon ; and the commander, Pyrard de Laval, did not 
return home for ten years. In 1615, " The Molucca 
Company" was formed, with exclusive privileges to 
trade for twelve years. This new source of compe- 
tition alarmed the Hutch, and their constant hosti- 
lity, together with the alleged exactions of the king 
of Acheen, obliged the French company to relin- 
quish their enterprise. In 1619-'20, a French ship 
was burnt at Bantam with a cargo valued at 500,000 
crowns, " apparently by the Dutch." — (Macpherson's 
Commerce, p. 256.) Merchants of St. Malo and 
Dieppe sent vessels to India at various times in 1622, 
and the former had an agent settled at Bantam. 

|| A Danish company was formed at Copenhagen 
in 1612, and six vessels (three belonging to the 
king, Christian IV., and three to the company) were 
sent out under a commander named Boschower, who 
had formerly been in the service of the Dutch in 
Ceylon, and had come to Europe with an appeal 
from the natives against the cruelties of the Spanish- 
Portuguese. Boschower first applied to the Dutch, 
and conceiving himself neglected, proceeded to 
Denmark, where he obtained the desired assistance, 
and sailed for Ceylon, but died on the voyage. His 
second in command became involved in disputes 
with the rajah he came to befriend, and sailed for 
Tanjore, where, by means of presents and the pro 
mise of a yearly tribute of £700, he obtained from 



again rejected.* To guard against the an- 
tagonism of the Dutch, and likewise to 
defeat the attempts of English interlopers, 
who had taken both to trading and priva- 
teering on their own account, it was deemed 
necessary to send out a fleet of nine ships, of 
which six were of considerable size, under 
the command of Sir Thomas Dale, who was 
commissioned by the king, and empowered 
to seize the ships of illicit traders, and to 
declare martial law in case of necessity. 
Hostilities were seldom long intermitted : 
even while the nations at home were in 
alliance, their subjects in the Indies were 
more or less openly at strife, unless indeed 
their joint influence was needed against the 
Portuguese, whose powers of aggression and 
even defence were now, however, almost neu- 
tralised by their disorganised condition. 

The Lisbon company to whom the exclu- 
sive claims of the Spanish crown had been 
made over, was unable to furnish the stipu- 
lated payments ; and the king, finding him- 
self impoverished instead of enriched by his 
Indian possessions, sent an order to Azevedo, 
the viceroy, to make the government sup- 
port itself, by selling every office to the 
highest bidder. This had already been done 
to a great extent ; but the royal order for so 
disgraceful a proceeding annihilated the 
few remaining relics of a better system ; and 
the Moors and Hindoos, instead of humbly 
suing these former lords of the Indian seas 
for a passport (which, even when obtained, 
often failed to secure their vessels against 
the rapacity of Portuguese cruisers), now in 
turn became the assailants, thus materially 
aiding the aggressive policy of the Dutch. 

The English did not often come in con- 
tact with the Portuguese, their head-quarters 

the rajah a cession of territory, on which the settle- 
ment of Tranquebar and the fortress of Dansburg 
were established. By justice and kindness the Danes 
acquired the goodwill cf the natives : their trade 
extended to the Moluccas and China ; they had fac- 
tories at Bantam and on the Malabar coast; gained 
possession of the Nicobar islands in the Bay of 
Bengal (of which they could make nothing); and 
built a neat town called Serampore, fifteen miles 
above Calcutta, on the Hooghly river. All these 
stations were under the direction of Tanjore ; and 
matters went on favourably until the rajah became 
involved in a long and sanguinary war, which pre- 
ventedtheDanes from procuring cargoes with any cer- 
tainty, and proved an obstacle to their commerce 
which all their economy and perseverance never 
enabled them to surmount. — (Anderson's Commerce.) 

* An attempt was likewise made for the establish- 
ment of a Scottish East India Company, and a royal 
patent granted in 1618 to Sir James Cunningham, but 
withdrawn in consequence of the interference of the 

being at Surat ; but about the time of their 
establishment in that place, the Dutch at- 
tempted to trade with the Malabar coasts, and 
in 1603, made an ineffectual endeavour to 
dislodge the Portuguese from Mozambique 
and Goa; opened a communication with 
Ceylon ; succeeded in expelling them from 
the islands of Amboyna and Tidore, and by 
degrees engrossed the whole trade of the 
Spice Islands; their large equipments and 
considerable proportion of military force, 
under able commanders, enabling them to 
conquer the Moluccas and Bandas.f The 
reinforcements of the Portuguese grew 
scanty and insufficient; their Spanish ruler 
finding full employment for his forces in 
maintaining the struggle in the Low Coun- 
tries, and, at the same time, guarding his 
dominions in the West Indies and South 
America; the Dutch were therefore enabled 
by degrees to fix factories at Pulicat, Masu- 
lipatam, and Negapatam, on the Coroman- 
del coast ; in Ceylon ; at Cranganore, Cana- 
nore, and Cochin, in Malabar; and thence 
pushed their commercial agencies to Bussora 
and the shores of the Persian Gulf. The 
Amsterdam company also formed establish- 
ments in Sumatra and Java. 

The twelve years' truce, entered upon be- 
tween Spain and Holland in 1609, checked 
open hostility in the Indies ; but the Dutch 
covertly continued their opposition ; and in 
1611, succeeded in opening a trade with the 
islands of Japan, despite the exclusive pre- 
tensions of the Spanish-Portuguese. The 
growing naval strength of England justly 
gave them more uneasiness than the decay- 
ing power of a nation whose yoke they had 
thrown off ; and they already found the 
English, competitors for the spice trade, of 

London company, who made compensation for the 
expenses incurred. The king, in return for this con- 
cession, and with a view of sustaining the Russian 
company, which had long been in a precarious state, 
prevailed on the East India Company to unite with 
them in carrying on a joint trade, each party advanc- 
ing £30,000 per annum during the continuance of 
their respective charters ; but the experiment failing 
after a trial of two seasons, the connexion was dis- 
solved at the termination of the year 1619 ; the loss 
of the East India Company being estimated at 
£40,000 — (Milburn's Oriental Commerce, p. 10.) 

f Their traffic seems from the first to have been 
always lucrative, though fluctuating. The dividends 
to the shareholders in each year, from 1604 to 1613 
inclusive, were at the rate of 125, 55, 75, 40, 20, 
25, 50, and 37 per cent. Numerous strong squa- 
drons were equipped : in 1613-14, no less than 
twenty-seven ships were dispatched to India. — 
( Voyages undertaken by Dutch East India Company : 
published in London, 1703.) 


which a complete monopoly was their especial 
desire. The islands of Polaroon and Rosen- 
gin* were fortified by the English, with the 
permission of the natives, about the year 
1617. This the Dutch resented, on the 
ground that they were already possessed of 
authority over the whole of the Bandas by 
reason of their occupation of the more im- 
portant islands in the group. They attacked 
Polaroon and were driven off, but seized two 
English ships, and declared their intention 
of retaining them until the English should 
consent to surrender all rights and claims 
on Polaroon and the Spice Islands. Consi- 
dering the general, though unjust, ideas 
then entertained regarding the rights ob- 
tained in newly-discovered countries by 
priority of occupancy, without regard to the 
will of the natives, the Dutch had some 
plausible pretext for maintaining their claims 
to the exclusive advantage of trade with the 
Moluccas, as obtained by conquest from the 
Spanish-Portuguese ; but with regard to the 
settlement in J ava, they could not urge that 
plea, since they had at first welcomed the 
arrival and alliance of the English, and made 
no opposition to their establishment in that 
island, now sanctioned by time. Their own 
notions of the case are set forth in a memo- 
rial addressed to King James in 1618, 
complaining of the encroachments of his 
subjects, and praying him to restrain their 
further aggressions : the London company, 
on their part, vindicated their conduct, and 
enumerated a long series of losses and 
injuries entailed upon them by the jealous 
enmity of the Dutch. The governments of 
the respective companies resolved to make 
an arrangement for the regulation of the 
East India trade ; and after repeated confer- 
ences, a treaty was signed in London, in 
1619, by which amnesty for all past excesses 
was decreed, and a mutual restitution of 
ships and property. The pepper trade at 
Java was to be equally divided. The Eng- 
lish were to have a free trade at Pulicat on 
the Coromandel coast, on paying half the 
expenses of the garrison, and one-third of 
the trade of the Moluccas and Bandas, 
bearing an equal proportion of the garrison 
expenses ; joint exertions to be made for the 
reduction of the customs and duties claimed 

* Two small islands in the Banda archipelago, 
chiefly producing nutmegs and other spices. 

t Bantam, which attracted so much attention in 
the early periods of European intercourse with the 
East, is situated near the north-west point of Java 
(lat. 5° 52' ; long. 106° 2 ), at the bottom of a large 

by the native governments at different 
ports ; the trade of both the contracting 
parties to be free to the extent of the speci- 
fied funds respectively employed ; each com- 
pany to furnish ten ships, not to be used in the 
European trade, but only for mutual defence, 
and in carrying goods from one port of 
India to another. Finally, a Council of 
Defence, composed of four members on either 
side, who were to preside each alternate 
month, was established for the local super- 
intendence of the treaty, which was to re- 
main in force twenty years. 

Some months before these arrangements 
were concluded, the fleet under Sir Thomas 
Dale combined with the king of Bantamf 
for the expulsion of the Dutch from Jaccatra ; 
which being accomplished, the place was left 
in the possession of its native owners ; but 
shortly afterwards again seized from the 
Javanese by their former conquerors, who 
thereupon laid the foundation of a regular 
fortified city, on which was bestowed the an- 
cient name of Holland, "Batavia," and which 
became, and still remains, the seat of their 
government and the centre of their trade. 

The scheme of making the two companies 
politically equal, and commercially unequal, 
was soon found to be impracticable; and 
before the Council of Defence had been well 
established in Jaccatra, the domineering 
conduct of the Dutch clearly proved their 
determination to take an unjust advantage 
of their superior capital and fleet. Consi- 
derable exertions were, however, made by 
the English company, and ten large ships 
sent out, with £62,490 in money, and 
£28,508 in goods. Nine of these vessels 
were detained in the East Indies ; but one 
returned home freighted with a cargo which 
realised £108,887 ; and had the Dutch acted 
up to the spirit or letter of their agreement, 
the returns would have been immense. 
Instead of this, they gradually laid aside the 
flimsy veil which they had at first cast over 
their intentions, and at length ceased to at- 
tempt disguising their continued determina- 
tion to monopolise the spice-trade. In fram- 
ing the treaty, no distinction had been made 
between past and future expenses : the Eng- 
lish intended only to bind themselves for the 
future; the Dutch demanded from them a 

bay, between the branches of a shallow river. A 
factory, it will be remembered, had been formed 
there by the English, under Captain Lancaster, in 
1602, and this had been burned by the Dutch, who 
had also attacked the palace of the king of Bantam, 
with whom they were constantly at variance. 


share of the past, and carried themselves in 
so overbearing a manner, that the English 
commissioners soon reported the worse than 
uselessness of maintaining a connexion which 
involved the company in a heavy outlay, 
without adequate remuneration. In the 
circle of which the ancient city of Surat* 
was the centre, affairs were proceeding more 
prosperously. A treaty of trade and friend- 
ship had been concluded with Persia, in 
1620, on very advantageous terms for the 
English, to whom permission had been ac- 
corded to build a fort at Jask; but an 
expedition sent there in the following year 
found the port blockaded by a Portuguese 
fleet, consisting of five large and fifteen 
small vessels. The English having but two 
ships, did not attempt to cope with so dis- 
proportionate a force, but sailed back to 
Surat, where, being joined by two other 
vessels, they returned to Jask, and suc- 
ceeded in forcing an entrance into the 
harbour. The Portuguese retired to Ormuz,f 
and after refitting, made a desperate attack 
upon the English, who gained a decisive 
victory over a much superior force. This 
event produced a deep impression on the 
minds of the Persians, who urged the victors 
to unite with them for the expulsion of the 
Portuguese from the island of Ormuz ; and, 
although it was against the royal instruc- 

* Surat, already repeatedly mentioned in connec- 
tion with the Moguls, Portuguese, and Mahrattas, 
is the present capital of Guzerat, situated on the 
bank of the Taptee river, about twenty miles above 
its junction with the sea, in 21° 11' N. lat., 73° 7' E. 
long. On the establishment of European intercourse 
with India, different nations resorted thither, as it 
had long been a commercial emporium, and was 
deemed " one of the gates of Mecca," from the num- 
ber of pilgrims who embarked there on their way to 
visit the tomb of Mohammed. The Dutch did not 
visit Surat until 1617, and then only by accident, being 
shipwrecked off the coast, and kindly treated by the 
English, who aided them in disposing of their car- 
goes at Surat, by which means they learned the im- 
portance of this ancient emporium, of which they 
were not slow to take advantage. 

-j- Ormuz, six miles long by four miles broad, is 
situated at the entrance of the Persian Gulf, in 27° 
12' N., within seven miles of the main land. When 
first visited by the Portuguese, under Albuquerque, | 
in. 1508, it was a place of considerable trade; there 
were then 30,000 men on the island, and in the 
harbour 400 vessels, sixty of them of large size, and 
having 2,500 men on board. The place was cap- 
tured by the Portuguese in 1514, and it remained 
in their possession for 120 years, during which time 
the fortifications were increased, noble mansions 
built, and the town advanced in wealth and splen- 
dour, until it grew to be regarded as the richest spot 
in the world. The share of the customs granted to 
the English at Gombroon, soon resulted in the trans- 

tions to attack the subjects of the king of 
Spain, the previous provocation and the 
urgent solicitation of the Shah was supposed 
to justify a further breach of the peace. A 
joint assault was made, and the town and 
castle captured in 1622, the English having 
the chief conduct of affairs, and receiving in 
return a proportion of the plunder, and a 
grant of the moiety of the customs at the 
port of Gombroon, J which was regularly paid 
till about 1680, when the company, being 
unable to keep the gulf free from pirates, 
the Persian monarch withheld their dues. 
Notwithstanding the favourable result of this 
enterprise,, the four representatives of the 
English East India Company at Jaccatra, who 
bore the title of " President and Council," 
blamed the co-operation with the Persians 
as a rash and ill-advised measure, because 
the pepper§ investment had been lost, from 
the company's vessels not arriving at Acheen 
as expected; beside which the general interest 
had suffered, from the shipping intended for 
the Java and Sumatra trade being detained 
by the factors at Sumatra. || Probably 
the English members of the Council of De- 
fence felt the necessity for the concentration 
of their force as a guard against the Dutch ; 
but for this the whole was far too little. The 
expiration of the truce between Spain and 
Holland, in 1621, gave the signal for the 

fer of the trade to that port ; and in the hands of the 
Persians, Ormuz degenerated into a heap of ruins. 

J Gomhrooii lies nearly opposite to Ormuz, in 
27° 10' N. lat, 54° 45' E. long., on the mainland of 
Persia. The English were permitted to establish a 
factory here in 1613, and the Dutch in 1620. After 
the expulsion of the Portuguese from Ormuz, many 
Persian merchants removed to Gombroon, which 
was then strongly fortified, and adorned with fine 
structures. When the interests of the E. I. Cy. be- 
came concentrated on the continent of India, their 
distant factories were neglected. The French seized 
Gombroon in 1759 : it was reoccupied by the English, 
but eventually abandoned from its unhealthiness. 

§ The stress laid on pepper and other spices, as 
primary articles in the East India trade, can only be 
explained by remembering, that in those days (while 
homoeopathy was unknown) both cordials and viands 
were flavoured to a degree which, when the cost of 
spices diminished, proved itself a fashion rather than 
a want, by falling into comparative disuse. 

|| A share of the prize-money taken at Ormuz and 
elsewhere was demanded by the king, in right of the 
Crown, and by the Duke of Buckingham, as Lord 
High Admiral. The company admitted the former, 
but denied the latter claim, upon which the duke 
stopped at Tilbury the seven out-going ships for the 
season, 1823-'4, and obtained £10,000 as a compro- 
mise. The same sum was required by the king, but 
there is no direct evidence that he ever received it. 
The total prize-money was stated at 240,000 rials, 
or £100,000.— (Bruce's Annals vol. i., p. 242.) 



renewal of undisguised hostility on the part 
of the Dutch towards the settlements of the 
Spanish-Portuguese; and the large arma- 
ments their lucrative trade enabled them to 
equip, rendered them strong enough to brave 
the vengeance both of their ancient foes and 
of their allies the English. Upon the plea 
that there had been a prior agreement with 
the natives of the Bandas, who had placed 
themselves under the sovereignty of the 
Staies- General, the Dutch governor, Van 
Coens, proceeded to the islands of Polaroon, 
Rosengin, and Lantore, and took possession 
of the factories, treating the few Englishmen 
he found there with the most barbarous 
cruelty, and executing great numbers of the 
natives on pretence of a conspiracy. The 
successor of Van Coens, Peter Carpentier, 
openly asserted the right of sovereignty over 
the countries in which the Dutch trade was 
situated, and declared that the English had 
only a title by the treaty as subordinate 
traders. The English factory at Bantam 
had been removed to Batavia on the faith 
of the Dutch performance of their treaty; 
but they soon found their mistake, and de- 
sired to return to Bantam, where, by favour 
of the king, their old ally, they doubted not 
that ten ships of 800 tons might be annually 
filled with pepper, provided the Javanese 
were allowed to bring it in without obstruc- 
tion ;* but to this measure the Dutch would 
not consent, lest the progress of their newly- 
erected and neighbouring sovereignty at 
Batavia should be thereby impeded. The 
English had no force wherewith to oppose 
the tyranny of their pretended coadjutors, 

* A frequent complaint urged against the Dutch, 
in the Annals of the E. I. Cy. is. that they sought 
" to bear down the merchants of every other country 
by raising the price, so as to render the trade un- 
productive to all other nations." — (Bruce, vol. i., p. 
231.) But if the Dutch company, by good manage- 
ment of their funds, could afford to purchase pepper 
from the natives at so high a price as tc " bear 
down" all competition, the means employed would 
seem perfectly legitimate. 

f Amboyna, to the south of Ceram, is the largest 
of the Clove Islands : Fort Victoria, the capital, lies 
in 3 5 42' S. lat., 128° 11' E. long. The Portuguese 
discovered this island in 1511, and occupied it in 
1564, in consequence of its valuable spices; but 
were driven out by the Dutch in 1607, who, as also 
the English, formed factories here ; and by the 
treaty of 1619, both nations were to occupy Am- 
boyna in common. 

\ The factories at Siam and Potania were with- 
drawn about the same time, also those in Japan, 
upon which island the Dutch had been driven during 
a storm in 1600: and through the influence subse- 
quently acquired by their English pilot, " old Wil- 
liam Adams," over the mind of the emperor, had 


but real foes ; and at length tired of remon- 
strance, urged the company to use every 
exertion to procure from the king the annul- 
ment of a treaty, whose ambiguity enabled 
the stronger party at will to oppress the 
weaker. The commercial efforts of the 
factors stationed at Amboynaf had proved 
equally unsatisfactory ; they were therefore 
ordered by the English president and coun- 
cil to leave the station with their property 
and come to Batavia. J It was at this crisis 
that those barbarous proceedings were insti- 
tuted which rendered the conduct of the 
Dutch at Amboyna a synonyme for cruelty. 

The local government, on the plea of 
the formation of a plot for its expulsion, 
seized ten Javanese about the middle of 
February, 1623, and by subjecting them to 
excessive and repeated torture, extorted a 
declaration that they had been parties in a 
conspiracy which the English agent (Captain 
Towerson), with thirteen of his countrymen 
and one Portuguese sailor, had formed to 
seize on the castle of Amboyna, and exter- 
minate the Dutch. That such a conspiracy 
should have been formed against an over- 
powering force, by a few trading agents who 
had no ambitious motives to prompt so daring 
an attempt, is highly improbable ;§ but the 
savage persecution of the Dutch governor 
can hardly be accounted for, except by sup- 
posing that he and his associates were hur- 
ried on by a desire to revenge a supposed 
wrong ; or else, that having resolved to be 
rid of their troublesome competitors, they 
first brought forward an accusation invented 
for the purpose, and then wrung from them, 

obtained, in 1609, permission to send two ships 
annually to the port of Firando. Adams, on learn- 
ing the establishment of his countrymen at Bantam 
(which the Dutch strove to conceal from him), sent 
a letter to advise their opening intercourse with 
Japan. In June, 1613, the Clove, Captain Saris, 
with a letter from King James I., and presents in 
charge of a superintendent or factor, arrived. The 
king or governor of Firando sent Captain Saris to 
Jedo, the capital, where he was well received ; a 
friendly answer returned to the royal letter, and a 
very liberal charter of privileges granted to the E. I. 
Cy. The Dutch soon instituted hostilities against 
the factory ; plundered the ships, wounded and killed 
several of the English, and compelled the rest to flee 
for their lives, which would probably have been sacri- 
ficed as at Amboyna, but for the interference of the 
Japanese, who, for several years after their departure, 
guarded the deserted factories from plunder, in con- 
stant expectation of their return. 

§ There were four strong forts, garrisoned by about 
200 Dutchmen, with some 300 or 400 native troops ; 
the English, in all, numbered about twenty men, in- 
cluding a surgeon and tailor, who were among the 


by intolerable anguish, a confession of guilt, 
the falsity of which none knew better than 
those who extorted it. The motives remain a 
mystery — as those of great public crimes often 
do ; the cause assigned being insufficient to 
account for the fiend-like cruelty with which 
Captain Towerson and his miserable com- 
panions were by turn subjected (as the na- 
tives had previously been) to the agonies 
which, by the aid of those two powerful 
agents, fire and water, the wicked invention 
and pitiless will of man can inflict upon his 
fellow.* By the Dutch code, as by the codes 
of all the other continental nations of Europe, 
evidence obtained by torture afforded suf- 
ficient ground for legal condemnation : the 
English, it was alleged, were living under 
Dutch sovereignty, established before their 
arrival in the island; and on these grounds, 
the whole of the accused were condemned 
to death, and with four exceptions, beheaded 
on the 27th of the same month in which 
they were first seized — all of them pro- 
testing, with their latest breath, their entire 
innocence of the crime with which they were 
charged. f Besides the above-named persons 
who were reprieved, four others remained in 
Amboyna, whose absence at the time of the 
alleged conspiracy had procured their safety. 
The survivors were sent for by the English 
president and council to Batavia, so soon as 
the terrible end of their companions was 
known there, and gladly made their escape, 
leaving their oppressors to seize the factories 
and stores, and to commit all manner of 
cruelties on the wretched Javanese, who 
were shipped off in large numbers, as slaves, 
to different islands. The English sufferers 
were dispatched to London, where they ar- 
rived in August, 1624. Their representations 
of the horrible outrage committed in Am- 
boyna, seconded by the protestations of in- 
nocence, written in a Bible and other books 
belonging to their unhappy countrymen, 
were sedulously circulated, and the effect 
heightened by the exhibition of a picture, in 
which the victims were represented upon the 
rack, writhing in agony. The press teemed 
with publications, enlarging upon the same 
subject; and the tide of popular feeling rose 
so high, that in default of ability to reach 
the true criminals, it had well nigh found 

* These proceedings are narrated at length in 
Hall's Cruelties of the Dutch in the East Indies, 
8vo., London, 1712: they were continued during 
several days, including a Sunday, and are too hor- 
rible for quotation : it must, therefore, suffice to say, 
that each victim was placed on the rack, and com- 
pelled to inhale water at every attempt to draw 

vent on the heads of the unoffending Dutch 
residents in London, who urgently ap- 
pealed to the Privy Council for protection, 
and complained of the conduct of the East 
India directors, whose proceedings, though 
probably not uninfluenced by views of mis- 
called policy, would yet be very excusable, 
when viewed on the ground of indignation 
at the unjust and cruel sufferings inflicted 
on their servants. 

A commission of inquiry was instituted 
by the king; application made to the Dutch 
government for signal reparation; and an 
order issued for intercepting and detaining 
the Dutch East India fleets, till an accom- 
modation should be arranged. The evasive 
answer of the States was evidently framed 
with a view of gaining time to let the fierce 
but short-lived tumult of popular rage pass 
away, before coming to any definite arrange- 
ment. The only concession offered, deemed 
worth accepting, was permission for the 
English to retire from the Dutch settlements 
without paying any duties; and even this 
was accompanied by an unqualified assump- 
tion of the sovereign and exclusive rights of 
the Dutch over the Moluccas, Bandas, and 
Amboyna, — the very point so long contested. 

King James manifested considerable 
energy on this occasion; but his foreign 
and domestic policy had acquired a reputa- 
tion for weakness and vacillation, which 
probably militated against the success of 
the measures instituted in the last few 
months of his reign, which terminated in 
March, 1625. His ill-fated son succeeded 
to a regal inheritance heavily burdened with 
debt, war, and faction ; which required, at 
least humanly speaking, the governance of 
one gifted with a powerful and unprejudiced 
intellect, and judgment wherewith to guide 
the helm of state — by that best rudder, the 
power of distinguishing the cry of faction 
from the desire of a nation. Had Charles I. 
been thus endowed, even a turbulent par- 
liament could not have driven him to 
alienate the affections of his subjects by the 
expedients (irregular loans and ship-money) 
to which he had recourse. As it was, the 
failing power of the Crown diminished the 
hope of redress entertained by the company, 
and subjected them to danger from the 

breath, until his body became inflated and he 
swooned, was recovered, and the same horrible pro- 
cess repeated. The fire was applied by means of 
lighted candles, held to the elbows and other sensi- 
tive parts of the body, and relit when extinguished 
by the heavy sweat of agony. — (Fp. 18 to 32.) 
+ This fact rests on Dutch authority. 


feeling against monopolies, which was evi- 
dently gaining ground in the House of Com- 
mons, stimulated by the complaints of the 
private traders, or interlopers, who pleaded 
the severities exercised against them in the 
Indian seas. The charter of the company 
was the gift of the Crown, from which they 
had recently received a new and important 
prerogative ; namely — authority to punish 
their subjects abroad by common and 
martial law :* nor does the sanction of par- 
liament appear to have been deemed neces- 
sary for the delegation of so important a 
trust. But a change was rapidly taking 
place; and the company, alarmed for the 
continuance of their monopoly, paid homage 
to the rising sun, by presenting a memorial 
to the Commons, in which they represented 
the national importance of a traffic employ- 
ing shipping of 10,000 tons burden, and 
2,500 men; and urged that the Dutch 
should be pressed to make compensation 
for past injuries, and discontinue their op- 
pressive conduct in monopolising the spice- 
trade, which was felt the more sensibly by 
the English from the difficulty they ex- 
perienced in opening a trade for woven 
goods on the coast of Coromandel. The 
precise condition of their finances at this 
period is not recorded ; but it was certainly 
far from being a prosperous one :f nor 
could they foresee the issue of the efforts 
which their expulsion from the Indian 
islands compelled them to direct to the for- 
mation of settlements on the great peninsula 
itself. In the interim, many difficulties 
were to be encountered. The company's 
Persian trade languished under the caprice 
and extortions of local magistrates. Their 
agents, soon after the catastrophe at Am- 

* Captain Hamilton asserts, that before this time 
(]624), the servants of the company, having no 
power to inflict capital punishment by the legal 
mode of hanging, except for piracy, had recourse to 
■whipping or starvation for the same end. It is very 
possible, that in the general license and disorder 
attendant on the formation, whether of factories or 
colonies, by men suddenly removed beyond the 
pale of conventional propriety, and unguided by a 
deeply-rooted principle of duty, that many violent 
deeds were committed in the profaned name of jus- 
tice. Nevertheless, so serious and sweeping a charge 
as the above, requires some stronger confirmation 
than any adduced by Mr. Hamilton, who did not 
enter India until sixty years after the period of 
which he writes so freely, and who, by his own 
admission, has recorded much hearsay information, 
[ through the medium of what be describes as " a 
| weak and treacherous memory." The date of the 
facts are in some measure a criterion how far they 
may be relied on. His description of scenes, in which 

boyna, had quitted Java and retired to 
Lagundy, in the Straits of Sunda. In less 
than a year, the extreme unhealthiness of 
the island rendered them anxious to abandon 
it; but of 250 men, 130 were sick, and 
they had not a crew sufficient to navigate a 
ship to any of the English factories. In 
this emergency the Dutch assisted them, by 
aiding their return to Batavia ; and through 
the steady friendship of the Pangran, or 
king of Bantam, they obtained the re-estab* 
lishment of their factory there, in 1629, 
without opposition on the part of the Dutch, 
who were then actively employed in de-> 
fending Batavia against the Materam, or 
emperor of Java, who unsuccessfully be- 
sieged it with 80,000 men. 

In 1628- ; '9, the station at Armegaun, on 
the Coromandel coast (established on a 
piece of ground purchased from the Naig, 
or local chief, shortly before) was fortified ; 
twelve pieces of cannon being mounted 
round the factory, with a guard of twenty- 
three factors and soldiers. The centre of 
the company's trade was the presidency of 
Surat, where, however, they had to sustain 
the commercial rivalry of the Dutch, whose 
larger capital, and, according to Milhfmore 
economical management,! enabled them to 
outbid the English, both in purchase and 
sale. The Spanish-Portuguese made an 
effort to retain their vanishing power ; and 
in 1630, the viceroy of Goa having received 
a reinforcement from Europe of nine ships 
and 2,000 soldiers, projected the recovery of 
Ormuz, and made unsuccessful overtures to 
the Mogul governor of Surat to obtain the 
exclusive trade. He then attacked five 
English vessels as they entered the port of 
Swally; but after a short, though indecisive 

he had been an actor, bear the stamp of truthfulness : 
though, so far as the company is concerned, they are 
often tinctured with prejudice; for the writer was 
himself an "interloper." — (Vide New Account of the 
East Indies, or " Observations and Remarks of Cap- 
tain Hamilton, made from the year 1688 to 1723.") 

+ In 1627, Sir Robert Shirley, before mentioned 
as Persian ambassador, and one of the two brothers 
who so strangely ingratiated themselves w : ith Shah 
Abbas, applied to the king and council to order the 
E. I. Cy. to pay him £2,000 as compensation for his 
exertions and services in procuring them a trade 
with Persia. The directors denied the alleged ser- 
vice, and moreover stated, that having " been obliged 
to contract so large a debt as £200,000, their para- 
mount duty was, in the first instance, to liquidate 
this debt, that they might raise the price of the 
stock, which had sunk so low as eighty per cent. — 
(Bruce, vol. i., p. 272.) 

% Mill's History of British India, edited b\ Pro- 
fessor Horace Hayman Wilson, vol. i., p. 64. 


action, followed by several minor skirmishes, 
and one great effort to destroy their fleet by 
fire, the English gained the victory, and 
succeeded in landing their cargoes. 

In 1631- ; 2, a subscription, amounting to 
£420,700, was opened for a third joint- 
stock fund. Its results have not been very 
accurately chronicled ;* neither if they had 
would they afford matter of sufficient interest 
to occupy space already so limited, that the 
author is frequently compelled to crowd 
into a note that which he would otherwise 
have gladly woven into the text. 

The Dutch were now the paramount 
maritime power in India : they annually 
sent from Holland thirty-four to forty-one 
ships, receiving in return from twenty-five 
to thirty-four rich cargoes ;f and the oc- 
casional squadrons still dispatched by the 
Spanish-Portuguese, opposed their formidable 
enemy with even less success than did the 
brave sailors who manned the " ventures" 
of English, French, and Danish companies. 

The revolution in Portugal, in 1640, by 
which, in less than a week, that kingdom 
regained its independence, had not its ex- 
pected effect in restoring the national in- 
fluence in India. The Dutch continued 
their conquering course ; and having pre- 
viously expelled the Portuguese from the 
Spice Islands, and Formosa in the China 
Seas, drove them from Malacca in 1640, 
Japan in 1641, and terminated a long and 

* The effect of the company's proceedings had 
been for several years a subject of parliamentary 
discussion ; and some valuable statistics regarding 
their early condition have come down to us in the 
form of documents laid before the House. It appears 
that from 1600 to 1621 inclusive, 86 ships were sent 
to India, of which 36 returned with cargoes, 9 were 
lost, 3 worn out in trading from port to port, 11 
captured by the Dutch, and 25 accounted for as 
engaged in India or on their voyage home. During 
this time, the exports had amounted to £613,681 in 
bullion, and £319,211 in woollens, lead, iron, tin, 
and other wares, making a total of £932,892, or 
about £45,000 per annum : the imports realised 
£2,004,600, the cost of lading having been 
£375,288. Another paper, drawn up by order of 
the Commons in 1625, states, that between March, 
1620, and March, 1623, 26 ships were equipped, and 
furnished with bullion to the amount of £205,710, 
and goods worth £58,806; total, £264,516. The 
imports during the same time, including raw silk 
from China and Persia, and a sum of £80,000 paid 
by the Dutch in accordance with the treaty of 1619, 
realised £1,255,444, or on an average, £313,861 per 
annum, and would have been much greater but for 
the hostilities with the Dutch. The principal objec- 
tions urged on public grounds against the company 
were, that the exportation of specie impoverished 
the realm, and that the navigation of the southern 
seas was destructive both to the mariners and vessels 

severe struggle by expelling them from 
Ceylon in 1656. The fortified stations on 
the Malabar coast — Cochin, Cananore, Cran- 
ganore, Coulan, and others of minor im- 
portance, likewise changed hands ;% but the 
Portuguese, on their side, had wherewith to 
balance, at least in part, the success of their 
opponents in the East Indies, by their own 
acquisitions in South America (the Brazils) ; 
and in 1661, a treaty was formed between 
Portugal and Holland, on the basis of the 
Uti posseditis — each party agreeing to be 
content with their reciprocal losses and 

The English company, meanwhile, found 
it difficult to maintain even a feeble and 
interrupted trade; and the more so from 
the unfaithful conduct of their own agents 
at Surat.§ In 1634, permission was granted 
by the emperor for trade with the province 
of Bengal,' with the restriction that the 
English ships were to resort only to the 
port of Piplee, in Orissa; and in the fol- 
lowing year, a friendly convention was 
entered into with the Portuguese. This 
latter arrangement becoming known in Eng- 
land, excited hopes of extraordinary profit, 
and induced a number of gentlemen, headed 
by Sir William Courten, to form a new 
association for trade with India. By the 
intervention of Endymion Porter, a gentle- 
man of the bed-chamber, Charles I. was 
prevailed upon to sanction, and even to 

employed. In reply to these charges it was urged, 
that the company exported not English, but foreign 
coin ; and that the quantity had always fallen far 
short of the sum authorised by the charter, and was 
expected to decrease yearly : with regard to the in- 
jurious results alleged to be produced on the English 
marine by the East India trade, the best answer was 
its greatly increased inefficiency. — (Monson's Naval 
Tracts in Churchill's Voyages — Bruce and Macpher- 
son.) The pro's and con's of the question as urged 
by the political economists of that day are very 
curious. What would have been their surprise, could 
they have been forewarned of the wealth England 
was to receive from India ; or been told that the 
country whose currency could, they considered, ill 
bear a yearly drain of specie to the amount of 
£30,000, would, in 1853, be found capable of ex- 
porting £30,000,000. 

f Macpherson's Commerce with India, p. 49. 

J "When will you return to India?" said a Dutch 
to a Portuguese officer, who was embarking for 
Europe after the surrender of a fortress to his an- 
tagonist. — " When your crimes are greater than 
ours," was the instructive reply. — {Memoirs of India, 
by R. G. Wallace: London, 1824, p. 198.) 

§ Instead of attending to the company's affairs, 
the president and council carried on a private trade, 
until, quarrelling among themselves, they betrayed 
one another, and were obliged to solicit the leniency 
of their far-distant employers. — (Bruce, i., 325.) 


accept a share in the proposed adventure. 
The preamble to the license, which was 
granted for a term of five years, alleges 
that the East India Company had neglected 
to establish fortified factories or seats of 
trade, to which the king's subjects could re- 
sort with safety; that they had broken the 
conditions on which their charter had been 
granted ; and had generally accomplished 
nothing for the good of the nation, in pro- 
portion to the great privileges they had 
enjoyed, or even to the funds of which they 
had disposed. These allegations, were they 
true, could not justify the breach of faith now 
committed : had the monopoly been clearly 
proved injurious to the nation, nothing 
beyond the stipulated three years' notice 
was necessary to its legal abrogation. The 
company remonstrated and petitioned with- 
out success : and one Captain Weddel, who 
had been previously engaged in their ser- 
vice, proceeded to the East Indies with six 
ships, and there occasioned the agents of 
his former employers great inconvenience, 
both by interfering with their trade, and 
by drawing upon them the hostility of the 
natives, who naturally suspected actual col- 
lusion, hid beneath the apparent rivalry 
of men of the same nation. In 1637-'8, 
several of Courten's ships returned with 
cargoes, which produced an ample profit to 
the association ; and a new license was con- 
ceded, continuing their privileges for five 
years. The old company, who had never 
ceased complaining and petitioning against 
the Dutch, had now a second source of 
anxiety, to which a third was soon added ; 
for the king, in his distress for funds where- 
with to carry on the Scottish war, compelled 
them to make over to him, on credit, the 
whole of the pepper they had in store, and 
then disposed of it at a reduced price for ready 
money.* Lord Cottington and others be- 

* The king bought 607,522 bags of pepper, at 
2s. Id. per lb.=£63,283 lis. 6d. : and sold it at 
Is. 8d. = £50,626 17s. Id.— (Bruce, vol. i., p. 371.) 

t The affairs of the third joint-stock were wound 
up in 1640, and the original capital divided, with a 
profit, in eleven years, of only thirty-five per cent — 
little more than three per cent, per annum. In the 
following year, £67,500 were subscribed for a single 
voyage; and in 1643, about £105,000 were raised 
for a fourth joint-stock. The attempts made, with 
this small sum, were very unfortunate : one ship, 
valued at £35,000, was wrecked ; and another, with 
a cargo worth £20,000, was carried into Bristol by 
her commander (Captain Macknel), and delivered 
over for the king's use, during the civil war in which 
the nation was then involved. The companv bor- 
rowed money both at home and abroad ; and, in 
1646, their debts, in England, amounted to £122,000. 

2 r 

came sureties for the king, who, when they 
were pressed for its repayment, exerted him- 
self for their relief and the liquidation of 
the debt ; but his power soon ceased ; and 
what (if any) portion of their claim the com- 
pany eventually recovered, is not known. 
It was while matters were in their worst 
state of distress and embarrassment at 
home, that the first English stations des- 
tined to prove of permanent importance 
in India were formed. f The position of 
Armegaun had been found inconvenient for 
providing the " piece-goods "J which con- 
stituted the principal item of exportation 
from the Coromandel coast; the permission 
of Sree Ranga Raya, the rajah of Chand- 
ragiri,§ granted in 1640, for the establish- 
ment of a settlement at Madras (sixty-six 
miles south of Armegaun) was therefore 
eagerly embraced, and the erection of Fort 
St. George immediately commenced by the 
chief local agent, Mr. Day. The court, 
or executive committee in London, deemed 
the enterprise hazardous, and inclined to 
its abandonment ; but by the advice of the 
president and council of Surat, the de- 
fences were continued, though on a very 
limited scale. Madras remained subordi- 
nate to the distant station of Bantam until 
1653 ; but was then raised to a presidency. 
Lest its importance should be over-rated, it 
may be well to add, that the garrison of the 
fort at this latter period amounted only to 
twenty-six English soldiers, and, in 1634— '5, 
was ordered to be diminished to a guard of 
ten, and the civil establishment to two factors. 

The settlement of a trading post at 
Hooghly forms another early and impor- 
tant link in the chain of circumstances, 
that from slender beginnings, under a policy 
of the most irregular and uncertain cha- 
racter, has terminated in the formation of 
that extraordinary power, called by some 

Their effects are stated as follows :• — " Quick stock at 
Surat, £83,600 ; at Bantam, £60,731 ; in shipping 
and stores, £31,180; and customs at Gombroon, 
estimated at £5,000: forming a total of £180,511." 
— (Milburn's Oriental Commerce, vol. i., p. 27.) 

% The general term applied to the muslins and 
wovegoods of India and China. 

§ A descendant of Venkatadri, brother of the 
famous Rama Rajah, the last sovereign of Beeja- 
nuggur (see p. 97.) In compliment to the naik, or 
local governor, who first invited the English to 
change their settlement, the new station was named 
after his father, Chenna-patam, and is still so called 
by the natives, though Europeans use an abbreviation 
of its previous designation — Madras-patam. The 
territory granted extended five miles along-shore and 
one mile inland. — (Hamilton's Gazetteer, and Orme's 
Historical Fragments of the Mogul Empire, p. 229.) 


an empire of chance, but really an empire 
of Providence. Jehanara, the favourite 
daughter of Shah Jehan, in retiring one 
night from the imperial presence to her 
own apartments, set her dress on fire, in 
passing one of the lamps which lit the 
corridor, and fearful of calling for assis- 
tance while the male guards of the palace 
were within hearing, rushed into the harem 
all on fire, and was fearfully burned before 
the flames could be extinguished. The most 
famous physicians were summoned from dif- 
ferent parts of the empire, and the surgeons 
of the English East-Indiamen having ob- 
tained considerable repute for cures per- 
formed on some Mogul nobles, an express 
was sent to Surat for one of them. Mr. 
Gabriel Boughton was selected for the 
important office, and having been instru- 
mental in aiding the recovery of the 
princess, was desired by Shah Jehan to 
name his reward. With rare disinterested- 
ness, Boughton asked exclusively for bene- 
fits to the company he served ; and in return 
for this and subsequent attendance on the 
household of the emperor and Prince Shuja, 
the governor of Bengal, he obtained a licence 
for unlimited trade throughout the empire, 
with freedom from custom-dues in all places 
except Surat, and permission to erect fac- 
tories, which was availed of by their es- 
tablishment at several places, especially 
Hooghly, from whence the Portuguese had 
been expelled in 1633.* Authorities agree 
with regard to the leading facts of the 
above occurrences, with one important ex- 
ception — the date, which is variously stated 
as 1636,f 16404 and 1651-'2. Bruce, the 
careful annalist of the E. I. Cy., fixes the 
latter period for the formation of the 
Hooghly factory, but his notice of Bough- 
ton is scanty and unsatisfactory, probably 
from the character of the data on which it 
was founded ; for the " cautious mercantile 
silence"§ observed by the company extended 
to their records ; and while striving to make 
the most of their claims upon the country 
at large, and to represent at its highest 
value the " dead stock" acquired in India, 
in the shape of trading licences, forts, fac- 
tories, &c, they were naturally by no means 

* They had settled there subsequent to the termi- 
nation of Faria y Sousa's history, in 1640: for an 
account of their expulsion by Shah Jehan, see p. 131. 

t Malcolm's Political India, vol. i., p. 18. 

X Stewart states that Boughton was sent to the 
imperial camp, in the Deccan, in 1636 ; and that fac- 
tories were established at Balasore and Hooghly, in 
1640. — {History of Bengal, p. 252.) Dow mentions 

anxious to set forth the easy terms on which 
some of their most important privileges 
had been obtained. During the concluding 
years of the reign of Charles I., they main- 
tained a struggling and fitful commerce. 
In 1647-'8, when the king was a prisoner 
in the Isle of Wight, and the power of the 
parliament supreme, a new subscription was 
set on foot, and strenuous endeavours made 
to induce members of the legislature to sub- 
scribe, in the hope that the English, like 
the Dutch company, might ensure the pro- 
tection of the state, through the influence 
of its chief counsellors. This project seems 
to have failed ; and in 1649-'50, attempts 
to form another joint-stock were renewed, 
and carried out by means of a junction with 
Courten's association, now designated the 
" Assada Merchants/' in consequence of their 
having formed a settlement on an island 
called by that name, near Madagascar. 

The establishment of the Commonwealth 
changed the direction, but not the character 
of the solicitations of the company. They 
now appealed to Cromwell and his Council 
for redress from the Dutch, and the renewal 
of their charter. The first claim met with 
immediate attention, and formed a leading 
feature in the national grievances urged 
against Holland. The famous Navigation 
Act, prohibiting the importation of any 
foreign commodities, except in English 
vessels, or those of the countries wherein 
they were produced, though, under the pe- 
culiar circumstances of the time, absolutely 
requisite for the encouragement of the Bri- 
tish navy, was felt by the Dutch as a measure 
peculiarly levelled against the carrying trade, 
so important to their national prosperity; 
and ambassadors were sent to Cromwell to 
solicit its repeal. The war which followed 
his refusal, involved the feeble settlements of 
the English in India in great danger, and 
almost suspended their coasting-trade ; but 
the success of their countrymen in Europe, 
soon delivered them from this peril. Crom- 
well reduced the Dutch to the necessity of 
accepting peace on terms of his dictation ; 
and a treaty was concluded at Westminster, 
in 1654, in which a clause was inserted for 
the appointment of a commission, composed 

the accident of the princess as occurring in 1643, but 
does not name Boughton. — (Hindoontan, vol. iii., p. 
190.) It appears that no firman was issued, but 
only a " nishan," or order from Prince Shuja, with 
warrants from the local governors; but, in 1680, 
Aurungzebe confirmed the grant of Shah Jehan. 

§ Bnice's A minis of E. I. Cy.,from 1600 to Union 
of London and English Cos., in 1 707-'8, i., 426. 


of four Dutch and four English members, 
to examine into and decide upon the 
claims of their respective nations, and to 
award punishment to all survivors concerned 
in the perpetration of the cruelties at Am- 
boyna, in 1623.* In the event of the com- 
missioners being unable to come to a de- 
cision, within a specified time, their differ- 
ences of opinion were to be submitted to 
the arbitration of the Protestant Swiss 

The claims of both parties, as might be ex- 
pected from the circumstances of the case, 
bear evident marks of exaggeration, though 
to what degree it would be difficult to judge. 
The English company estimated their da- 
mages, as ascertained bv a series of accounts 
from 1611 to 1652, at £2,695,999 15s.; the 
Dutch, at £2,919,861 13s. 6d. The award 
of the commissioners set aside the balance 
claimed bv the latter, and allotted to the 
English the sum of £85,000, and £3,615 to 
the heirs or executors of those who had 
suffered at Amboyna. Polaroon was like- 
wise to be ceded by the Dutch ; but they 
long endeavoured to evade compliance with 
this stipulation ; and when, after the lapse of 
many years, the island was at length sur- 
rendered^ the nutmeg plantations, which 
had constituted its chief value, were found 
to have been all purposely destroyed. 

The English company were not well 
pleased with the amount adjudged to them, 
and their dissatisfaction was greatly increased 
by Cromwell's proposition to borrow the 
£85,000 in question, until its distribution 
should be arranged. The directors asserted 
that the different stocks were £50,000 in 
debt, and many of the proprietors in diffi- 
cult circumstances; J but that they would 
consent to spare £50,000, to be repaid by 
instalments in eighteen months, provided 
the remaining £35,000 were immediately 
assigned them to relieve their more pressing 

* It does not appear that this latter part of the 
agreement was ever fulfilled. 

+ In 1665:Damm,an island near Banda, was occu- 
pied by the English in the same year; but they were 
driven out by a Dutch force, on the plea of a prior 
right. The war between England and Holland gave 
the Dutch an opportunity for regaining Polaroon ; 
and by the pacification of Breda in 1667, the British 
government tacitly surrendered both Polaroon and 
Damm, in consideration of more important objects 
gained by that treaty. 

X " At the same time," says Mill, " it is matter 
of curious uncertainty who these directors were, 
whom they represented, by what set or sets of pro- 
prietors they were chosen, or to whom they were 
responsible." — (Vol. i., p. 861.) 

liabilities, and make a dividend to the share- 

The application of the company for a 
confirmation, under the republic, of the ex- 
clusive privileges granted under the mo- 
narchy, was not equally successful. It is 
not necessary to enter into the question of 
whether the well-grounded aversion enter- 
tained by the public towards the monopolies 
of soap, wine, leather, salt, &c, bestowed 
by the Crown on individuals, extended to 
the charters granted for special purposes 
to large associated bodies ; the fact remains, 
that so far from obtaining a confirmation 
of their privileges, the E. I. Cy., in 1654, 
beheld with dismay their virtual abrogation 
in the licences granted by Cromwell to sepa- 
rate undertakings. The rivalry of discon- 
nected traders was unimportant in compari- 
son with that of the so-called Merchant Ad- 
venturers, who were proprietors of the united 
stock formed in 1649, and who now took their 
chance, in common with other speculators. 
By their exertions, four ships were equipped 
for the Indian trade, under the management 
of a committee. The news of these events 
created great excitement in Holland; and 
instead of rejoicing over the downfall of an 
old rival, the Dutch company appear to have 
been filled with consternation, either fearing 
that the example might lead to the destruc- 
tion of their monopoly, or else that it would 
open the door to more dangerous competi- 
tion from the English at large. The experi- 
ment of open trade with India was, however, 
of too brief continuance to afford conclusive 
evidence regarding the permanent effects 
it was calculated to produce on British ! 
commerce ;§ for in 1657, the Protector and 
Council of State decided upon the manage- | 
ment of a corporate body vested with exclu- 
sive privileges, as the most efficacious method 
of carrying on the Indian traffic. A new 
charter was accorded, and a coalition effected 

§ Numerous pamphlets, published during the paper 
war which raged towards the latter part of the seven- 
teenth century, are still extant. On one side, it was 
argued, that the cheapness and abundance of Indian 
products (especially indigo and calico), which re- 
sulted from the open trade, attested its beneficial 
influence on the nation ; but the advocates of the 
company, in reply, asserted that this was merely a 
temporary excitement, sure to produce a reaction. 
With regard to the adventurers themselves, it has 
been alleged, that they were eminently successful ; 
but Anderson remarks, " it is generally said that 
even the interlopers, or separate traders, were 
losers in the end;" and he adds, "so difficult is it 
to come at the real truth where interest is nearly 
concerned on both sides." — (Vol. ii., p. 444.) 



between the E. I. Cy. arid the Merchant 
Adventurers. By their united efforts a sub- 
scription was raised, amounting to £786,000, 
and arrangements, already too long delayed, 
entered into with the owners of the pre- 
ceding funds ; all the forts, privileges, and 
immunities obtained in India and Persia 
being made over to the new association, in 
full right, for the sum of £20,000, and the 
ships or merchandise similarly transferred 
at a valuation. Thus the directors had 
henceforth a single fund to manage, and a 
single interest to pursue ; but, unfortunately 
for them, the joint-stock was not as yet a 
definite and invariable sum placed beyond 
the power of resumption, the shares only 
transferable by purchase and sale in the 
market. On the contrary, their capital was 
variable and fluctuating, — formed by the 
sums which, on the occasion of each voyage, 
the individuals who were free of the com- 
pany chose to pay into their hands, receiv- 
ing credit for the amount in the company's 
books, and proportional dividends on the 
profits of the voyage. Of this stock, £500 
entitled a proprietor to a vote in the general 
courts; and the shares were transferable 
even to such as were not free of the com - 
pany, on payment of an admission-fee of 
£5. A defective system, and inadequate 
resources, together with the hostility of the 

: Dutch, and the disturbed state of the Deccan 
during the long reign of Aurungzebe, com- 
bined to render the operations of the com- 
pany in India languid and inconsiderable. 
Yet, during this period of depression, several 
events occurred which had an important 
bearing on their after-history : in the words 
of Robert Grant, " amidst the storms under 
which it was bending, — if we may not rather 
say from the very effects of them, — the 
British authority silently struck some deep 
roots into the eastern continent."* 

The death of Cromwell, and the restora- 
tion of monarchy under Charles II., proved 
fortunate events to the corporation ; for the 
Protector, notwithstanding his decision in 
their favour, had shown a continued inclina- 
* Sketch of the History of the E. I. Cy., page 20. 
t Shortly before his death, Cromwell licensed a 
Mr. Rolt to export three mortars and 20,000 shells, 
to be disposed of to Aurungzebe, then engaged in 
rebellion against his father. The company directed 
the Surat presidency to seize on these articles as 
illicit; and the more effectually to frustrate the 
speculation, sent large quantities of ordnance, mor- 
tars, shells, &c, desiring the different presidencies to 
dispose of them at the best price to either of the four 
rival princes who should first apply for them, pre- 

] serving meanwhile a strict neutrality. — (Bruce, i., 39.) 

tion to sanction private adventure, at least 
in exceptional cases ;f while the king evinced 
no desire to question or infringe their exclu- 
sive claims, but confirmed them in the 
fullest manner in April, 1661, and empow- 
ered them to make peace or war with any 
prince or people not Christians ; and to 
seize unlicensed persons within their limits, 
and send them to England. These two 
privileges, added to the administration of 
justice, consigned almost the whole powers 
of government over " all plantations, forts, 
fortifications, factories, or colonies" already 
or hereafter to be acquired by the company, 
to the discretion of the directors and their 
servants — not for a stated term, but in per- 
petuity, with, however, the usual condition 
of termination after three years' notice, if 
found injurious to the sovereign or the 
public. J Two months after the renewal of 
the charter, Charles married the Infanta 
Catherine, and received, as a portion of her 
dowry, a grant of the island of Bombay 
from the crown of Portugal. The Earl of 
Marlborough, with 500 troops, commanded 
by Sir Abraham Shipman, were dispatched 
to India on the king's behalf, to demand 
possession of the island and its dependen- 
cies (Salsette and Tanna.)§ The Portuguese 
governor took advantage of the indefinite 
wording of the treaty, and refused to deliver 
over any territory beyond Bombay itself; 
and even that he delayed to surrender till 
further instructions, on the pretext that the 
letters or patent produced did not accord 
with the usages of Portugal. The troops 
were dying day by day, in consequence of 
long confinement on board ship, and their 
commander requested the president of Surat 
(Sir George Oxenden), to make arrange- 
ments for their reception, but was refused, 
on the ground that such a proceeding 
might excite the anger of the Mogul go- 
vernment. In this emergency, the Earl of 
Marlborough returned to England, and Sir 
Abraham Shipman proceeded to the little 
island of Anjediva, twelve leagues distant 
from Goa, where, being cooped up in an 

J A clause in this charter confirmed to the com- 
pany the possession of St. Helena, which they had 
taken possession of in 1651, as a convenient station 
for the refreshment of homeward-bound vessels, the 
Dutch having previously abandoned it for the Cape 
of Good Hope. Here, as in Bombay, they were em- 
powered to frame and execute laws " as near as might 
be" conformable to the constitution of England; a 
direction not sufficiently observed. 

§ He urged that the cession of these isles could 
not have been intended, since it would lay the im- 
portant station of Bassein open to the English. 


THE CROWN TO E. I. Cy.— 1668. 217 

unhealthy position, and distressed for pro- 
visions, he offered to cede the rights of the 
English Crown to the representatives of the 
company at Surat. The proposition was 
rejected, for the two-fold reason that it was 
unauthorised, and that the presidency had 
not a sufficient force to occupy and main- 
tain the island. At length, after Sir Abra- 
ham and the majority of the soldiers had 
perished, the survivors, about 100 in num- 
ber, were suffered to take possession of 
Bombay, in December, 1664,* on terms 
prescribed by the Portuguese. The govern- 
mental expenses being found to exceed the 
revenue of the island, it was transferred to 
the E. I. Cy. in 1668 ;f " to be held of the 
king in free and common socage, as of the 
manor of East Greenwich, on the payment 
of the annual rent of ten pounds in gold/' 
and with the place itself was conveyed 
authority to exercise all political powers 
necessary to its defence and government. J 

Bombay, from its insular position, proved 
a very important acquisition, especially to 
the presidency of Surat, from which it was 
situated within a sail of 200 miles, — a very 
practicable distance considered with respect 
to the extensive range of the Indo-British 
establishments. The fortifications were dili- 
gently enlarged and strengthened ; and in 
about six years the orduance of the garrison, 

* This date is memorable for the first importation 
of tea into England by the E. I. Cy., a small quan- 
tity being brought as a present for the king. No 
public order was given for its purchase until 1667 ; 
■when the agent at Bantam was desired " to send 
home by these ships 100 lbs. weight of the best tey 
that you can gett."— (Bruce, ii., 211.) This article 
became the chief item in the trade with China, to 
be described under the head of Hong-Kong. 

+ Probably it was intended thereby to recom- 
pense the company for the annulment of their claims 
to Polaroon and Damm, mentioned in a previous 
note; and also for the cession of their possessions on 
the coast of Africa (obtained through their junction 
with the Assada merchants), to the company formed 
by the Duke of York, for the hateful slave-trade. 

% The question of the proprietorship of the land 
at Bombay is nowhere very definitely stated as re- 
gards the native owners. The Jesuits claimed con- 
siderable portions, as appertaining to their college 
at Bundera, and vainly strove to establish their pre- 
tensions by force. — (Annals, ii., 214.) Authority was 
subsequently given for the purchase of lands in the 
vicinity of the fort to the extent of £1,500. A subse- 
quent record states that the inhabitants had paid the 
Kingof Portugal one-fourth of the profit of their lands 
as a quit-rent, which President Aungier commuted 
for an annual sum of 20,000 xeraphins, reserving to 
the company the right of military service. — (iii., 105.) 

§ The sobriety and regularity of the German re- 
cruits are particularly praised in the communications 
of 1676-'7, and a request made, that a proportion 
should be annually embarked to supply the frequent ! 

which, at the time of the cession, consisted 
of twenty-one pieces of cannon, was aug- 
mented to 100. Every encouragement was 
held out, both to European and native 
settlers. A remission of customs was pro- 
claimed for five years, looms were provided, 
houses built, and a system of administration 
framed with especial regard to the opinions 
and customs of the motley population, com- 
prising English and Germans,§ Hindoos) 
Mohammedans, and Parsees. In 1675-^6, 
the revenues were nearly doubled, having 
increased from £6,490 (75,000 xeraphins) to 
£12,037 sterling.— (Grant's Sketch, p. 87.) 
Letters-patent were granted by Charles II., 
in 1676, for the establishment of a mint at 
Bombay for the coinage of rupees and pice, || 
to pass current in all the dependencies of the 
company. A system was adopted, about the 
same time, for the general regulation of the 
service on the principle of seniority ever 
after maintained ; the gradations of ap- 
prentices, writers, factors, merchants, and 
senior merchants being then established. 

The position of the company at this period 
was a very critical one : in England, not- 
withstanding the decided patronage of the 
Crown, their severe treatment of interlopers 
produced fierce altercations between the two 
houses of parliament,^" and their pecuniary 
involvements induced them to direct their 

vacancies caused by the climate. A militia was 
formed, and in 1672-'3, on an alarm from the Dutch, 
the assistance of 500 Rajpoots was requested. 

|| The rupee was then valued at about three shil- 
lings: a pice, at a halfpenny. — (Bruce's Annals.) 

^[ A memorable instance of this strife occurred in 
the case of a merchant, named Skinner, who applied 
to government for redress against the E. I. Cy., 
for having seized his ship and merchandise in India, 
in 1658. His complaint was referred by the king to 
the Privy Council, and thence to the House of Peers, 
by whom the directors were ordered to answer at 
the bar the charge brought against them. They 
refused to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Peers, 
and appealed to the Commons against this infraction 
of their chartered privileges. The Lords decreed 
judgment, by awarding £5,000 damages to Skinner, 
upon which the Commons passed some condemna- 
tory resolutions regarding the Upper House, and 
seizing the successful petitioner, sent him to the 
Tower. The Lords, in reprisal for Skinner's incarce- 
ration, ordered Sir Samuel Barnadiston and three 
other leading members of the contumacious com- 
pany into confinement, and declared their memorial 
false and scandalous : while the Lower House in 
turn, resolved, that whoever should execute the sen- 
tence of the Lords in favour of Skinner, would prove 
himself a betrayer of the rights and liberties of the 
Commons of England. To such a height did these 
contentions proceed, that the king prorogued parlia- 
ment seven times on this account ; and at length, in 
1670, when, after some intermission, the controversy 
again revived, he sent for the members of both 


servants in India to borrow the money 
necessary for procuring investments or car- 
goes for Europe, " without being limited 
either in the amount, or the rate of inter- 
est."* In the year 1673-' 4, the president of 
Surat stated that the Indian debts amounted 
to £100,000, exclusive of the rapid accumu- 
lation of them by the payment of high in- 
terest ;f and for the liquidation of these 
sums, the only source as yet available was 
the balance of trade. Nor was it always 
practicable to raise loans on any terms ; for 
the native bankers and dealers, called Shroffs 
and Banians, who took off the imports of 
European traders in large quantities, and 
advanced money when the supply sent 
out was insufficient to provide cargoes for 
the expected shipping, were themselves con- 
stantly exposed to the arbitrary exactions of 
their own government, which they strove to 
escape by calling in their capital, and bury- 
ing it till better times enabled them to em- 
ploy it with impunity. These difficulties 
induced the president and council to urge 
that money should be borrowed in England at 
four per cent., rather than taken up in India 
at double the cost, or, as frequently happened, 
no funds being available to provide invest- 
ments, the ships kept waiting for return 
cargoes until the arrival of a fresh supply of 
bullion. Territorial revenue began to be 
looked to as the remedy for these evils, and 

houses to Whitehall, and by personal persuasion, 
induced them to erase from their journals all their 
votes, resolutions, and other acts relating to the 
subject. The company came off victors ; for Skin- 
ner, it would appear, never got any portion of the 
compensation adjudged to him. — (Anderson, ii., 461.) 

* Bmce's Annals ofE. I. Cy., ii., 202. f Idem, 342. 

X The ministers of Louis XIV., Cardinal Itichelieu 
and the great Colbert, had directed their attention 
to the commercial and naval interests of France. 
Colbert, especially, laboured in this cause with extra- 
ordinary zeal and success. In 1642, a settlement 
was made in Madagascar, preparatory to the exten- 
sion of French power in the Eastern seas ; but the 
adventurers, through their wanton cruelty, became 
involved in contests with the brave natives (Mala- 
gash), and notwithstanding repeated attempts, were 
unable to secure a footing in this rich island. In 
1664, Colbert formed an E. I. Cy. on the model of 
that of Holland, with a very privileged charter for 
fifty years, and a stock of £625,000, partly raised by 
loan. Four ships were sent to Madagascar; and in 
1668 a factory was commenced at Surat, then the 
general resort of European nations. But the French 
soon looked to political rather than to commercial 
prospects ; and under the direction of an experienced 
man, named Caron (who, disgusted with the ill- 
treatment received from the Dutch after long and 
valuable service, had quitted their employ), sur- 
veyed the coasts of India for an eligible site 
whereon to lay the foundation of French power. The 

political influence courted as a means of 
commercial prosperity. There was no esta- 
blished power under whose protection foreign 
traders could place themselves, and to whose 
legitimate authority they could offer, in re- 
turn, hearty and undivided allegiance. Their 
earliest territorial suzerain, the rajah of 
Chandragiri, had been overpowered by 
Meer Jumla, the general of the King of 
Golconda, about the year 1656, and Moham- 
medan rule extended over the territory in 
which Madras was situated. The English 
suffered no inconvenience from the change; 
but were, on the contrary, especially favoured 
by the usurping sovereign, who suffered their 
money to pass current, and conferred upon 
them several valuable privileges. They con- 
tinued to pay him an annual quit-rent of 
1,200 pagodas, until about 1687-'8, when his 
power being considerably weakened by the 
aggressions of Aurungzebe, they appear to 
have taken advantage of some flimsy pretext 
to withhold their tribute. By the Great 
Mogul the English were likewise well 
treated ; and had he possessed unquestioned 
supremacy over the places in which their 
trade was situated, their policy would have 
been comparatively plain and easy, and their 
difficulties would have consisted almost ex- 
clusively in the rivalry of the Portuguese, 
Dutch, and Danes, to which list the French^ 
had been recently added. But the rise of 

fine harbour of Trincomalee, in Ceylon, was judi- 
ciously selected, and taken possession of by a French 
squadron, under La Haye : hostilities ensued between 
the French and Dutch E. I. Companies ; but the 
former losing many men by sickness, were soon ex- 
pelled, and proceeded to the coast of Coromandel, 
where they captured St. Thomas, or Meliapoor. The 
Dutch co-operated with the King of Golconda, and 
the French garrison being reduced to the extremity 
of famine, were compelled to surrender. The sur- 
vivors, under the guidance of a Mr. Martin, who, like 
Caron, had previously been in the service of the 
Dutch company, purchased from the King of Beeja- 
poor, a village upon the coast called Pondicherry, 
with a small adjacent territory, and there formed the 
settlement eventually of so much importance. By 
his prudent measures the place became rapidly 
populous, and being desirous to put it in a state of 
defence during the disturbed state of the country, 
he obtained permission for the erection of fortifica- 
tions, notwithstanding the opposition of the Dutch, 
who endeavoured to bribe the King of Beejapoor 
to withdraw his protection, and permit them to ex- 
pel the new settlers ; but the firm reply was, " The 
French have fairly purchased the place; I shall not 
be so unjust as to take it from them." — (Macpher- 
son's Commerce with India, p. 260.) The Beejapoor 
monarchy was overthrown by Aurungzebe in 1686. 
The Dutch overpowered the French garrison, and 
drove them out in 1693 ; then, desirous to secure their 
conquest, immediately improved and strengthened the 


the Mahrattas, under Sevajee — a native power 
under a native leader — greatly changed the 
state of affairs. At first, the English were 
i disposed to follow the example of their im- 
perial patron, and treat the new leader as a 
mere marauder — a captain of banditti — 
whose attempts at friendly communication 
were to be evaded, without however, unne- 
cessarily provoking a foe whose anger and 
alliance were both to be avoided. 

When Sevajee advanced against Surat 
in 1664, the terror of his name had already 
taken such deep root, that the governor 
shut himself up in the castle, and the in- 
habitants fled from the city. The Dutch 
and English remained in their factories ; and 
the latter, calling in the ships' crews to their 
aid, by courage and determination succeeded 
in preserving their own property, and that 
of their immediate neighbours, from pillage. 
Aurungzebe rewarded this service by a 
firmaun, conceding one per cent, out of his 
three per cent, custom duties, and a total 
1 exemption from all transit charges. In 
1670, the place was again approached by 
Sevajee. The French, who had established 
a factory there, preserved it by paying a 
contribution :* the Dutch station being 
without the town, was not attacked : the 
English, having transported the greater part 
of their goods on board ship to Swally, 
prepared to guard the remainder at all 
hazards. The factory was assailed, but suc- 
cessfully defended by the English, though 
several lives were lost, as well as some 
property in detached warehouses. The 
Mahrattas then threatened to set the factory 
on fire ; but Sevajee was unwilling to pro- 
ceed to extremities, being desirous to induce 
them to return as traders to Rajapoor, 
which they had quitted on account of his 
exactions. A complimentary present offered 
to Sevajee, was very gratifying to him. He 
extended his hand to the English deputies, 
with an assurance that he would do them no 
wrong ; and on several subsequent occasions 
negotiations were set on foot, which, how- 
ever, the English endeavoured to evade 
bringing to any definite conclusion, by 
demanding compensation for the injuries re- 
works : but their labour proved ill-bestowed ; for the 
place was restored to its rightful owners by the treaty 
of Ryswick, in 1697. — (Raynal's E. and W. Indies.) 

* Wilson's note on Mill, vol. i., p. 99. Grant Duff 
says, " the French purchased an ignominious neu- 
trality, by permitting the Mahrattas to pass through 
their factory to attack an unfortunate Tartar prince 
who was on his return from a pilgrimage to Mecca, 
and whose property [including a vast treasure in 

ceived from the Mahrattas at Surat and 
elsewhere. This stipulation was conceded 
in 1674, and a treaty formed, by which 
10,000 pagodas were promised to the 
aggrieved party, and the long-maintained 
right deemed inherent in the sovereign over 
all wrecks on the shores of his territory, re- 
linquished in favour of English vessels. The 
enthronement of Sevajee took place at this 
time, and the envoy beheld with amazement 
a portion of the magnificent ceremonial, 
with its costly and characteristic feature, — ■ 
the weighing of the person of the new 
sovereign against gold coin to be distributed 
among the Brahmins, as an act of reverence 
to their order, accompanied by the per- 
formance of manymunificent acts of charity, f 
The Mogul government watched with jealous 
distrust this growing intercourse, and the 
English found great difficulty in maintaining 
a neutral position. In 1677-'8, the direc- 
tors of the E. I. Cy., or, as they were then 
termed, the Court of Committees, " recom- 
mended temporising expedients to their ser- 
vants as the rule of their proceedings with 
the Mogul/with Sevajee, and with the petty 
rajahs," as the means of obtaining com- 
pliance with the various firmauns and grants 
already acquired ; and desired them to en- 
deavour, by their conduct, to impress the 
natives with an opinion of their commercial 
probity. " At the same time," says Bruce, 
" they gave to President Aungier and his 
council [at Surat] discretionary powers to 
employ armed vessels to enforce the obser- 
vance of treaties and grants : in this way 
the court shifted from themselves the re- 
sponsibility of commencing hostilities, that 
they might be able, in any questions which 
might arise between the king and the com- 
pany, to refer such hostilities to the errors 
of their servants." J This writer is too inti- 
mately acquainted with the company's pro- 
ceedings, and too decidedly their champion, 
to be accused of putting an unfair construc- 
tion on any of their directions. It was 
evidently necessary that considerable lati- 
tude should be given by masters so far re- 
moved from the scene of action ; but subse- 
quent events indicate that plans of terri- 

gold, silver, and plate, a gold bed and other rich 
furniture], became part of Sevajee's boasted spoils 
on this occasion." — (History of Mahrattas, i., 247.) 

t Dr. Fryer mentions that he weighed about 
16,000 pagodas, equal to about ten stone. The 
titles assumed by Sevajee were, — the head ornament 
of the Cshatriya race, his majesty, the rajah Seva, 
possessor or lord of the royal umbrella. 
[ X JBruce's Annals of E. I. Cy., ii., 406-'7. 


torial aggrandisement, to be carried out by 
force of arms, were already entertained. 

The governmental expenses of Bombay 
(civil and military) were found to be very 
heavy ; and as a means of meeting them, 
taxes were raised and salaries diminished] 
that of the deputy-governor, the second in 
rank in the service, being reduced to £120 
per annum. Great dissatisfaction was created 
by these changes, especially by the diminu- 
tion of the garrison; soon after which the 
trade of the place was menaced by two 
sterile isles in the neighbourhood (Henery 
and Kenery) being taken possession of re- 
spectively by Sevajee and his opponent, the 
Siddee, or Abyssinian leader, who held the 
position of admiral of the Mogul fleet.* 
The English were obliged to conclude a 
humiliating truce with both parties, and 
thus purchase freedom from interruption 
to their trade, until the abandonment of 
these barren rocks relieved them from alarm 
on that score. 

The death of Sevajee, in 1680 ; the ap- 
pointment of Mr. (afterwards Sir John) 
Child as president of Surat, with a council 
of eight members, in 1681 ; the erection of 
an independent agency in Bengal, in 1682; 
and the expulsion, in the same year, of the 
English from Bantam,f were rapidly fol- 
lowed by other important events. The system 
of injudicious retrenchment attempted at 
Madras and Surat, and persevered in at 
Bombay,J ended in producing a revolt in 
that island. Captain Keigwin, the com- 
mander of the garrison, which comprised 
150 English soldiers and 200 topasses 
(natives), seized the deputy-governor, with 
such of the council as adhered to him, as- 
sembled the militia and inhabitants, and 
being by them appointed governor of the 
island, issued a proclamation declaring the 
authority of the company to be annulled in 
Bombay, and that of the Crown substituted 

* Siddee, or Seedee, is a corruption of an Arabic 
term, signifying a lord ; but in the common language 
of the Deccan, it came to be applied indiscriminately 
to all natives of Africa. The Siddees of Jinjeera 
took their name from a small fortified island in the 
Concan, where a colony had been formed on a jag- 
hire, granted, it appears, in the first instance, to an 
Abyssinian officer, by the king of Ahmednuggur, on 
condition of the maintenance of a marine for the 
protection of trade, and the conveyance of pilgrims 
to the Red Sea. The hostility of Sevajee induced 
the Siddee, or chief, to seek favour with Aurungzebe, 
by whom he was made admiral of the Mogul fleet, 
with an annual salary of four lacs of rupees (£40,000) 
for convoying pilgrims to Judda and Mocha. The 
emperor himself sent an annual donation to Mecca 
of three lacs. — (Duff's Mahrattas, Bruce, and Orme.) 

in its place. President Child had no force 
wherewith to compel the submission of the 
insurgents; and his attempts at negotiation 
were decidedly rejected, on the plea that 
the measures which had led to the rebellion, 
had originated solely in the selfish policy of 
himself and his brother, Sir Josiah Child, 
the chairman of the Court of Committees. 

The king was appealed to by both parties ; 
and in November, 1684, the island was de- 
livered up by Keigwin to Sir Thomas Gran>- 
tham, as the representative of the Crown, on 
condition of a free pardon for himself and all 
concerned. To prevent the recurrence of a 
similar disturbance, the seat of government 
was removed from Surat to Bombay ; and for 
the suppression of the interlopers, who were 
believed to have been intimately concerned 
in the late revolt, admiralty jurisdiction was 
established in India, by virtue of letters- 
patent granted by James II., in 1686. Sir 
John Child was appointed captain-general 
and admiral of the forces of the E. I. Cy., 
both by sea and land, in the northern parts 
of India, from Cape Comoriu to the Gulf of 
Persia, and he was likewise entrusted with 
supreme authority over all the settlements. 
The weapons thus furnished were used with an 
unhesitating determination, which has ren- 
dered the conduct of the plenary representa- 
tive of the powers delegated to the company 
a subject of unqualified panegyric, and of 
equally exaggerated blame. The truth pro- 
bably lies between these extremes. The bro- 
thers Child were men of considerable ability, 
and deeply interested in the fortunes of the 
company, whose affairs devolved chiefly on 
their management. They were led, by a 
very natural process, to contrast the flourish- 
ing state of the Dutch trade with their own 
depressed condition, and to seek for the 
cause of the comparative, if not complete 
exemption of the rival company from the 
unlicensed competition of their countrymen, 
t In 1677, the principal agents at Bantam were 
assassinated by some of the natives, on what ground, 
or by what (if any) instigation, does not appeal-. The 
company persevered, nevertheless, in endeavouring 
to maintain commercial intercourse ; and friendly 
embassies, accompanied by presents of tea on the 
part of the King of Bantam, and of gunpowder on 
the part of the English sovereign, were continually 
dispatched, until a civil war, instigated by the Dutch, 
terminated in the deposal of the old king by his son, 
who, in obedience to his domineering allies, expelled 
the English from their factory in 1682, and never 
permitted their re-establishment in his territories. 

% In 1682-'3, the European garrison, reduced to 
at least 100 men, " were daily murmuring at the 
price of provisions, which their pay could not afford." 
— (Bruce's Annals of E. I. Cy., ii., 489.) 


and from the delinquency of their servants. 
Whether they examined and compared the 
commercial details of the two associations 
does not appear, nor whether they made due 
allowance for the heavy drain occasioned by 
the large subsidies, or, as the anti T monopo- 
lists called them, bribes, furnished to Charles 
II. and James II., not, however, for the pri- 
vate use of these monarchs, since the monies 
in question are said to have been paid into 
the exchequer for the public service.* Be 
this as it may, the remedy for existing evils 
constantly put forth by the company during 
the administration of Sir Josiah Child, was 
a close imitation of the policy of the success- 
ful and unscrupulous Dutch, whose ag- 
gressive conduct towards the natives had its 
counterpart in the sanguinary decree for 
the infliction of capital punishment on all 
interlopers and deserters. Sir Josiah Child 
certainly understood the mind of the Eng- 
lish public at the close of the seventeenth 
century far too well to press the adoption of 
such a law, whatever his own wishes on 
the subject might have been. He contented 
himself with urging the suppression of pri- 
vate trade by more gentle means, at the 
same time advocating the attainment of in- 
dependent power in India, by the enlarge- 
ment and strenuous assertion of the authority 
of the company over British subjects within 
the limits of their charter ; and, secondly, 
of retaliative, if not aggressive hostilities 
against the Indian princes. The adminis- 
tration of Shaista Khan, as " Nabob/'f or 
governor of Bengal, was alleged to have 
been vexatious and oppressive in the ex- 
treme; and amicable negotiations having 
failed in procuring redress, it was thought 
practicable to obtain better terms by force 
of arms. Accordingly, the largest military 
armament J ever yet assembled by the com- 
pany, was dispatched to India, with orders 
to gain possession of the city and territory 

* Grant's Sketch of History of E. I. Cy., pp. 105-'6. 

t An English corruption of the Arabic word Naib 
or the Persian Nawab (meaning deputy), applied to 
the imperial souhahdars or governors. 

1 Ten armed vessels, from twelve to seventy guns, 
and six companies of infantry, without captains, 
whose places were to be supplied by the members of 
council, in Bengal. In addition to this force, appli- 
cation was made to the king for an entire company 
of regular infantry, with their officers. 

§ Bruce, vol. ii., p. 586. It was stated in 169l-'2, 
that £400,000 had been spent in fortifying and im- 
proving Bombay, including the harbour, docks, &c. 

ij' The aldermen were to be justices of the peace, 
and to wear thin scarlet gowns, and the burgesses 
black silk gowns: a town-clerk and recorder were to 
2 G 

of Chittagong as a place of future security, 
and thence retaliate upon the Nabob, and 
even upon the Mogul himself, the injuries 
and losses which had already been sustained. 
Bombay was elevated to the rank of a 
regency, after the example of the Dutch at 
Batavia and Columbo ; and orders were given 
to increase the fortifications, and render the 
island " as strong as art and money could 
make it."§ Madras was formed into a cor- 
poration, to consist of a mayor and ten 
aldermen (of whom three were to be the 
company's servants and seven natives), with 
120 burgesses. || An offer was made by the 
garrison of Fort St. George (Madras), to 
aid the King of Golconda against the 
Dutch, with whom he was then at war ; and 
in return, a firmaun was to be solicited to 
coin rupees, together with the grant of St. 
Thomas as an English possession. Thus 
the company were desirous of attaining po- 
litical influence in all directions ; and their 
views were seconded with much energy by 
Sir John Child, who, following the spirit of 
the instructions cited in a previous page, 
resolved to commence hostilities against 
Aurungzebe, as if on his own responsibility ; 
so that in the event of an unfavourable issue 
to the expedition, an opportunity might be 
provided of negotiating for the restoration of 
former privileges and trade, upon the same 
basis as they had stood previously to his 
apparently unsanctioned proceedings. 

By some casualty the whole force did not 
arrive in the Ganges at the same time ; and 
an insignificant quarrel between three Eng- 
lish soldiers and the "peons/' or native 
police of the Nabob, brought on the contest 
in an unexpected manner, in October, 1686. 
Hooghly was cannonaded by the fleet under 
Captain Nicholson, and 500 houses were 
burnt, upon which the foujdar, or military 
governor, made overtures for peace; but 
the demands of the English were so exces- 

be appointed ; a sword and mace to be carried before 
the mayor, and a silver oar before the judge-advo- 
cates — ceremonieswhich musthave been very puzzling 
to the native aldermen. Some difficulty occurred in 
carrying this project into execution ; for although 
the inhabitants soon recognised the beneficial effect 
of the new measure, the mixed description of persons 
considered proper for the court of aldermen could 
not be obtained. No Armenian could be induced to 
act; the Jews left the place; the Portuguese feared 
their countrymen and the Inquisition too much to 
accept office ; and the local authorities considered it 
unsafe to " confide in the Moors or Mussulmen." — 
(Bruce's Annals of the E. I. Cy., ii., 593 ; 659 : iii., 
Ill ; 156.) With regard to the Hindoos, no objection 
appears to have been raised either by or against them. 



sive, amounting to above sixty-six lacs of 
rupees, or nearly £700,000, that they could 
scarcely have expected compliance. On 
the side of Surat considerable advantage 
was at first gained by the capture of a num- 
ber of Moorish vessels, richly freighted ;* 
and also in Bengal, through the determined 
conduct of Job Charnoek, the company's 
agent, by whom the Nabob's forces were 
repulsed in repeated assaults, the fort of 
Tanna stormed, the island of Injellee seized 
and fortified, and the town of Balasore par- 
tially burned, with forty sail of the Mogul 
fleet : the factories, however, at Patna and 
Cossimbazar were taken and plundered by 
the enemy, and the agents placed in irons. 
At this period, Muchtar Khan was appointed 
governor of Surat, and with him a sort of 
provisional convention was entered into, 
which was to be the basis of a treaty with 
the Mogul. The court in London, over- 
joyed at the prospect of such favourable 
terms, voted Sir John Child a present of 
1,000 guineas, — a very large sum in propor- 
tion to the moderate salaries then appor- 
tioned to Anglo-Indian functionaries.f 

The negotiation fell to the ground. Ac- 
cording to the account given in the official 
records, Muchtar Khan never intended to 
carry it out, and only affected to entertain 
the proposition as a means of gaining time 
until the results of the contest of Aurungzebe 
with Beejapoor and Golconda, and also with 
Sumbajee, should be fully manifest. This 
seems contradicted by the fact, that after 
these two kingdoms fell into the power of 
the Mogul, the English authorities of Madras 
solicited and received from the conqueror a 
confirmation of the privileges accorded to 
them by the deposed monarch. In fact, 
they followed the example of a neighbour- 
ing Hindoo governor, who quietly remarked, 
that "as the world turned round like a 
wheel, he had beaten his drums and fired his 
guns, for the victory of the mighty Aurung- 
zebe over his old master." J Sir John Child 
severely reprimanded the Madras agency for 
their conduct, as implying a doubt of the 
ultimate issue of the struggle of their country- 
men with the Mogul ; but since he had him- 
self evinced pretty clearly a similar feeling, 
by affecting to act on his private authority, 
without the knowledge of his employers, it 
is hard to censure the Madras agents for 

* According to the writers of that day in the 
interloping interest, the advantage in question was 
purchased at the expense of a flagrant breach of 
faith ; but this allegation the company denied. 

taking measures against their otherwise cer- 
tain destruction or captivity. The annals 
of this period are very confused : even Bruce, 
more than once, alludes to their defective- 
ness; but it appears, that in October, 1688, 
Sir John Child, suspecting duplicity on the 
part of the Mogul governor, embarked at 
Bombay, and appeared off Surat with a fleet 
of seven ships, his intention being to deter 
Muchtar Khan from any breach of the pro- 
visional agreement. In this same month, 
Captain Heath reached Bengal, in command 
of a large armed ship, the Defence, attended 
by a frigate, and bearing instructions from 
the Court of Committees for the active prose- 
cution of hostilities. His proceedings are 
thus related by Bruce : — "Captain Heath, on 
the 29th of November (contrary to the opi- 
nion of the agent and council, and notwith- 
standing a perwannah [order] for peace with 
the English had been received by the gover- 
nor from the Nabob), attacked and took a bat- 
tery of thirty guns, and plundered the town 
of Balasore. The English factory, on this 
occasion, was burned by the governor; and 
the company's agents, who had been pre- 
viously taken prisoners, were carried up the 
country, where all subsequent efforts for 
their release were unavailing." Under 
these circumstances, it would seem unjust to 
accuse the Moguls of breaking the armistice, 
since it was not till the 26th of December 
that Muchtar Khan seized and imprisoned 
Mr. Harris and Mr. Gladman, ordered the 
company's goods in Surat to be sold, de- 
manded a contribution of five lacks of rupees, 
and offered a large reward for the person of 
Sir John Child — alive or dead. The island 
of Bombay was attacked by the Siddee, the 
greater part of it occupied by the enemy, and 
the governor besieged in the town and castle. 
Aurungzebe issued orders to expel the English 
from his dominions. The factory at Masulipa- 
tam was seized, as also that at Vizagapatam, 
where the agent and four factors were slain. 

The unequal contest could not, it was 
evident, be prolonged without occasioning 
the destruction of those by whose ambi- 
tion and imprudence it had been provoked. 
Sobcitations for peace were presented, in 
December, 1688, and received with a show 
of indifference — rather affected than real; 
for the imperial treasury, drained by con- 
stant warfare, could ill bear the sub- 

•f Harris, the successor of Child as president of 
Surat and governor of Bombay, had only £300 
a-year. The regency scheme was abandoned. 

X Orrrje's Historical Fragments of Mogul Empire. 


L I. Cy. EXPRESSED IN 1689. 


traction of any source of income. The 
application of the English for the restora- 
tion of commercial privileges, was doubtless 
the more welcome, for being presented under 
circumstances which enabled Aurungzebe 
to carry out the policy evidenced in his 
dealings with the Portuguese, of reducing 
the pretensions of European maritime powers 
trading to the Indies to a complete depen- 
dence on his authority ; thus keeping down 
attempts at political influence while desirous 
of promoting mercantile intercourse. In 
February, 1689, a new firmaun was issued, 
which declared that "the English having 
made a most humble and submissive petition 
that the crimes they have done may be 
pardoned ;" and having promised " to restore 
the merchants' goods they had taken away 
to the owners thereof, and walk by the ancient 
customs of the port, and behave themselves 
for the future no more in such a shameful 
manner; therefore his majesty, according to 
his daily favour to all the people of the world, 
hath pardoned their faults, and mercifully 
forgiven them." Out of his princely conde- 
scension, the Great Mogul further agreed 
to permit a present of 150,000 rupees to be 
placed in the treasury of Surat. The firmaun 
concludes with an express stipulation "that 
Mr. Child, who did the disgrace, be turned 
out and expelled." The translation of this 
document is apparently faulty; but it suffices 
to convey an idea of its tone and tenor, and 
fully bears out the declaration of Bruce, that 
the result of all the projects of the company 
to become an independent power in India, 
was to reduce their agents to a more abject 
position than any in which they had been 
placed since the first establishment of an 
English factory in India.* 

Sir John Child, who had provided in his 
own person a scape-goat for the wrath of 
the emperor, died at Bombay during the 
progress of the negotiation, and the office of 
president devolved on Mr. Harris, then a 
prisoner at Surat. On payment of the fine 
and restoration of goods decreed in the 

* Bruce, ii., 639-'40 ; 646—653. The firmaun con- 
tains no reference to the privilege of coining money, 
which had long heen a point in dispute. 

f " Dispatch from the Court of Committees in Ann. 
Comp., 1689- '90: written, there seems good reason 
for believing, by Child." — (Grant's Sketch, p. 101.) 

J In the instructions for the establishment of this 
new settlement, special encouragement is directed 
to be given to Armenians, as also in Vizagapatam 
and Madras. In the latter place, one quarter of the 
town was to be allotted to them, with permission 
"to build a church at their own cost," a duty sadly 
neglected by the company. These Armenians were 

firmaun, Mr. Harris and other English pri- 
soners were immediately released from their 
long confinement in irons ; but it was not 
until the 22nd of June, 1690, that the Siddee, 
by order of Aurungzebe, vacated his different 
posts at Bombay (Mazagon, Mahim, and 
Sion), after about a twelvemonth's occupa- 
tion. On the same day, the accession of 
William and Mary to the throne of Eng- 
land was proclaimed in this island, as it had 
been at Madras eight months before. Igno- 
rant of the disasters attending their ambi- 
tious projects, the court, in the instructions 
addressed to their servants in 1689, declare 
— " The increase of our revenue is the sub- 
ject of our care, as much as our trade : 'tis 
that must maintain our force when twenty 
accidents may interrupt our trade ; 'tis that 
must make us a nation in India ; without 
that we are but as a great number of inter- 
lopers, united only by his Majesty's royal 
charter, fit only to trade where nobody of 
power thinks it their interest to prevent us ; 
and upon this account it is, that the wise 
Dutch, in all their general advices which we 
have seen, write ten paragraphs concerning 
their government, their civil and military 
policy, warfare, and the increase of our 
revenue, for one paragraph they write con- 
cerning trade."f Being chiefly concerned 
in monopolising the spice-islands, the Dutch 
appear to have followed their policy of terri- 
torial aggrandisement far less strenuously 
on the continent of India than at Ceylon, 
Java, and throughout the Eastern Archi- 
pelago, at Formosa (China), at the Cape 
of Good Hope, at New York, Guyana, and 
other widely-spread localities. 

The disastrous issue of the recent expedi- 
tion, compelled the English to adopt a more 
deferential manner towards the native pow- 
ers, but made no change in their ultimate 
intentions. Shortly after the conclusion of 
peace, the town andharbourof'Tegnapatam,J 
on the Coromandel coast, a little to the south 
of the French settlement of Pondicherry, 
was obtained by purchase from Rajah Ram, 

a Christian sect formed during the power of the 
successors of Constantine. When the countries they 
inhabited were over-run by the Mohammedan arms, 
they were forcibly transplanted by Shah Abbas, and 
other belligerent monarchs, into Persia, and dis- 
persed among the surrounding countries, where they 
earned a livelihood as merchants and brokers. Some 
of them made their way into India, and obtained a 
character for successful trading, which rendered the 
company desirous to employ them in vending English 
woollens, and procuring fine muslins and other goods. 
The project seems to have failed, the Armenians being 
pre-engaged in the service of the Levant company. 



the Mahratta sovereign, and the sanction of 
the Mogul authorities of the Carnatic ob- 
tained for its occupation. It was strength- 
ened by a wall and bulwarks, and named 
Eort St. David* 

About the same time a more important 
acquisition was made in Bengal. During 
the late hostilities, the agent and council at 
Hooghly, fearing to continue in so exposed a 
position, removed to Chuttanuttee, a village 
about twenty-four miles lower down the 
river, where they hoped to remain in security 
under the protection of their ships. The 
Nabob ordered them to return to Hooghly, 
and forbade their building, with either stone 
or brick, at Chuttanuttee ; but, on the paci- 
fication with the court of Delhi, permission 
was obtained for the establishment of a 
factory there. Repeated attempts were made 
to obtain leave to fortify the new position, 
and for a grant of jurisdiction over its in- 
habitants, as also over those of the adjoining 
villages of Calcutta and Govindpoor. Si- 
milar applications were made by the Dutch 
at Chinsura (about a mile southward of 
Hooghly), and by the French at Chanderna- 
gore (two miles lower down the river), but 
without success ; for Aurungzebe never per- 
mitted any foreigner to erect a single bastion 
on Mogul territory, though he tolerated the 
continuance (at Madras for instance) of such 
European fortresses as his conquests over 
Mohammedan or Hindoo princes drew within 
the borders of the empire. At length, one 
of those intestine divisions which have so 
often placed India at the feet of strangers, 
procured for the agencies before-named the 
privilege long vainly solicited. Soobah 
Sing, a petty Hindoo chief, being dissatisfied 
with Rajah Kishen Rama, of Burdwan (who 
must have been either tributary to, or in the 
service of, Aurungzebe), united with Rehim 
Khan, an Afghan, then considered the head 
of that clan remaining in Orissa, in an 
attempt to overturn the government, in 
1695-'6. The three European settlements 
hired a number of native soldiery to guard 
their property : the Dutch and French pro- 
fessed themselves staunch allies of the 

* The precise period of the introduction of the 
Dutch into Bengal is not recorded ; but the French 
established themselves about 1676, and the Danes in 
the same year at Serampore. — (Stewart's Bengal, 
p. 346.) 

t Tanna, ten miles west of Calcutta, on the opposite 
side of the river, was defended by an English frigate, 
sent at the request of the foujdar of Hooghly to 
support the fort against the rebels. Calcutta, ac- 
cording to Stewart (properly called Calicotta), takes 

Mogul : the English endeavoured to pre- 
serve a semblance of neutrality, but united 
in requesting permission to fortify their fac- 
tories against the attacks of the insurrec- 
tionists. The Nabob directed them, in general 
terms, to defend themselves, and they, taking 
for granted what was not absolutely for- 
bidden, laboured day and night in raising 
walls with bastions round their stations. A 
pitched battle between the insurgents and 
Kishen Rama, terminated in the defeat 
and death of the latter, and the capture 
of his family. His beautiful daughter was 
among the prisoners : Soobah Sing strove 
to dishonour her ; but the attempt cost 
him his life ; for the hapless girl, aware 
of his intention, had concealed a sharp 
knife in the folds of her dress; and when 
he strove to seize her, she inflicted upon 
him a mortal wound, and then, with mis- 
taken heroism, stabbed herself to the heart. 
By this catastrophe, the rebel army fell 
under the sole control of the Afghan chief, 
who became master of Hooghly, Moor- 
shedabad, and Rajmahal: the Dutch and 
English factories, at the latter place, were 
pillaged of considerable property. Chutta- 
nuttee and the fort of Tannaf "were unsuc- 
cessfully attacked. But the general progress 
of the rebels was almost unchecked ; and in 
December, 1696, their force comprised 
12,000 cavalry and 30,000 infantry: the 
revenue of the country in their possession 
was estimated at sixty lacs of rupees per 
annum ; and Rehim Shah assumed the style 
and dignity of a prince. The remissness of 
the Nabob being deemed the chief cause of 
the rapid spread of the insurrection, Prince 
Azim (second son of Prince Mauzim)J was 
sent at the head of theMogul army for its sup- 
pression, and was at the same time appointed 
to the government of the three provinces of 
Bengal, Behar, and Orissa. The death of 
Rehim Shah in battle, in 1698, and the 
submission of the Afghans, was followed by 
a general amnesty. The Europeans were 
suffered to continue their fortifications ; and 
in 1698, the English, by the payment of a 
considerable sum of money, obtained per- 

its name from a temple dedicated to Caly, the 
Hindoo goddess of Time. The territory purchased 
from the zemindars in 1698, extended about three 
miles along the Hooghly (or Bliagaruttee), and one 
mile inland. 

t It was a part of the policy of the wily Aurung- 
zebe, to bring forward his grandsons and place them 
in positions of honour and emolument; so that they 
might be disposed, in any emergency, to side with 
him rather than with their own fathers. 


mission to purchase Chuttanuttee and the 
adjoining villages, with authority to exercise 
justiciary power over the inhabitants. The 
designation of Calcutta came to be applied 
to the whole, and the name of Fort William 
was given to the defences in honour of the 
English monarch. 

Notwithstanding these cheering indica- 
tions of progress in Bengal, the general 
condition of the E. I. Cy. at this period 
was one of extreme political and financial 
depression ; their difficulties from private 
trade and piracy being aggravated by the 
national hostility of the French, and the 
domestic rivalry of a new association. The 
death of Sir John Child made no change in 
the policy pursued by his brother in England : 
at his instigation, the Court of Committees 
continued to wield, to the fullest extent, the 
somewhat questionable authority conveyed 
by their charters, which, although intended 
to confer the privilege of exclusive trade, left 
loopholes sufficient toencourage unauthorised 
ventures on the part of speculators inclined 
to balance ultimate risk, against the present 
safety and prospect of gain afforded by the 
want of any power on the part of the com- 
pany to seize vessels at the outset or on the 
voyage, however evident the intention of 
the equipment. The consequence was, that 
although the court might occasionally bring 
offenders before the King's Bench, and did, 
at one time (1685-'6), threaten to prosecute 
as many as forty-seven of the principal in- 
terlopers, yet the brunt of the battle fell to 
the share of their servants in India; and 
they, if the evidence of Captain Hamilton* 
may be trusted, shrank from the responsi- 

* According to this writer, Mr. Vaux, the governor 
of Bombay, who had obtained that position by favour 
of Sir Josiah Child, in answering a communication 
on the subject of interlopers, took occasion, while 
thanking his patron for past benefits, to assert his 
resolution to abide by the laws of his country. Sir 
Josiah, in reply, "wrote roundly to Mr. Vaux, that 
; he expected his orders to be his rules, and not the 
laws of England, which were a heap of nonsense 
compiled by a few ignorant country gentlemen, who 
hardly knew how to make laws for the good govern- 
ment of their own families, much less for the regu- 
lating of companies and foreign commerce. I am 
the more particular," adds Hamilton, " on this ac- 
count, because I saw and copied both those letters in 
anno, 1696, while Mr. Vaux and I were prisoners at 
Surat, on account of Captain Evory's [Avery] rob- 
bing the Mogul's great ship, the Gunsway" [Guj 
Suwaee] — East Indies, i., 233.) Considering the pre- 
ponderance of country gentlemen in parliament at 
this period, the satire is not without point; and Hamil- 
ton's assertion regarding the letter is so clear and posi- 
tive, that it can hardly be set aside without unwarrant- 
able disparagement to the character of an intelligent 

bility of carrying out the stringent orders 
forwarded on this head, declaring that the 
laws of England were contrary to the mea- 
sures proposed. Apart from the testimony 
of any unfavourable witness, there are indi- 
cations, in the selected Annals of the E. I. 
Cy., of a tendency to confound private and 
unlicensed trade Avith piracy, f which pro- 
bably conduced to the increase of the latter 
disgraceful crime, while it aggravated the 
hostility of the interlopers, who must have 
possessed considerable influence if they were, 
as described in an official despatch, " mal- 
contents, quondam committee-men, and 
adventurers, who have sold their stocks at 
high rates, and want to buy in again at 
low. "J The change in the government of 
England paved the way for discussions re- 
garding the validity of rights proceeding 
from a grant of the Crown simply, or rights 
proceeding from a grant founded on an act 
of the legislature. The strong desire of the 
nation for extended commerce with India 
was manifested in the eagerness with which 
one large class of persons recommended an 
open trade ; while another united for the 
formation of a new joint-stock association. 
Petitions and remonstrances were on all 
sides presented both to parliament and the 
king ; and while parliament passed repeated 
resolutions in favour of the new company, 
the king as often granted charters to the 
old. The letters-patent of 1693 confirmed 
the monopoly of the latter, but only for a 
period of twenty-one years ; terminated the 
" permission trade," by prohibiting the 
grant of licences to private ships ; decreed 
the annual exportation of British manu- 

though prejudiced writer. Such vague statements 
as the following may be reasonably viewed with more 
suspicion : — " The power of executing pirates is so 
strangely sketched, that if any private trader is in- 
jured by the tricks of a governor, and can find no 
redress, if the injured person is so bold as to talk of 
lex talionis, he is infallibly declared a pirate." — p. 362. 

f An illustration of this tendency may be found 
in the records of 1691-'2. "The court continued to 
act towards their opponents (the interlopers) in the 
same manner as they had done in the latter years 
of the two preceding reigns, and granted commis- 
sions to all their captains proceeding this season to 
India, to seize the interlopers of every description, 
and bring them to trial before the admiralty court 
of Bombay, explaining that as they attributed all 
the differences between the company and the Indian 
powers to the interlopers, if they continued their 
depredations on the subjects of the Mogul or King 
of Persia, they were to be tried for their lives as 
pirates, and sentence of death passed, but execution 
stayed till the king's pleasure should be known." — 
(Annals of E. I. Cy., vol. iii., p. 103.) 

t Idem, p. 112. 


factures, to the value of £100,000 ; and 
directed the dividends to be paid, for the 
future, exclusively in money. In defiance 
of this charter, a vote of the House of Com- 
mons declared it to be "the right of all 
Englishmen to trade to the East Indies or 
any part of the world, unless prohibited by 
act of parliament."* This state of strife 
and confusion reached its climax, in 1695, 
when it became known that a system of 
direct bribery had been pursued towards 
men in power. The Lower House, though 
some of its leading members were deeply 
implicated, came forward actively in the 
matter, and ordered the books of the com- 
pany to be examined, from whence it ap- 
peared, that previous to the Revolution the 
annual expenditure in " secret services" had 
scarcely ever exceeded £1,200; but that 
since that epoch it had gradually increased, 
and in the year 1693, whilst Sir Thomas 
Cooke was governor, had amounted to up- 
wards of £80,000. Many persons of eminence 
were involved in these nefarious transac- 
tions with the most unprincipled schemers : 
the Duke of Leeds, then lord president of 
the council, vehemently defended the com- 
pany, and was himself impeached by the 
Commons, on the charge of having received 
a bribe of £5,000; but the principal wit- 
ness against him was sent out of the way ; 
and it was not till nine days' after it had 
been demanded by the Lords, that a pro- 
clamation was issued to stop the fugitive. 
The inquiry, at first urged on with all the 
violence of party-spirit, soon languished; 
the rank and influence of a large number of 
the persons directly or indirectly concerned, 
opposed an insurmountable barrier to its 
prosecution, and by the prorogation of par- 
liament, though nominally only suspended, it 
was actually abandoned. Sir Thomas Cooke 
had been committed to the Tower for re- 

* Bruce's Annals of E. I. Cy., iii., p. 142. 

t Anderson's Origin of Commerce, ii., 608. Tys- 
sen, the deputy-governor, and other persons shared 
the imprisonment of the governor, and probably also 
received proportionate gratuities. Among them was 
the notorious Sir Basil Firebrass, or Firebrace, who 
had been recently bought off from the interloping 
interest, and who played a leading part in 1701 in the 
arrangements for the union of the two E. I. Com- 
panies, and demanded in return a per centage equal 
in value to £30,000, on a portion of the joint stock. 

% The French East India trade appears to have 
been from the first a losing concern. Notwithstanding 
the pecuniary and political support of the government, 
Colbert's company (according to the Abbe Raynal), 
had often to subscribe for the payment of losses, 
while their European rivals were dividing thirty per 
cent, on mercantile ventures ; and in 1684, their ac- 

fusing to disclose the names of the indi- 
viduals who had received bribes : his tempo- 
rary confinement was compensated by a 
present of £12,000, bestowed upon him by 
the Court of Committees " some years after 
the bustle was over."f. 

The result of these proceedings was greatly 
to degrade the company; nor could it be 
otherwise, while any sense of honesty existed 
in the public mind. Yet the weight of blame 
rests unquestionably less heavily on those 
who offered the bribes than on the sworn 
guardians of the national interests, who, by 
accepting them, showed themselves tainted 
by that unholy covetousness which, under 
a despotism, is the chief source of the per- 
version of justice; and, among a free people, 
must tend to destroy the very basis of all 
sound principle and impartial legislation. 

In a pecuniary sense, these disbursements 
were unwarrantable, being made at a time 
when the funds of the association barely 
sufficed to meet the necessary and legitimate 
expenditure called for by the occupation 
of new settlements, and the heavy losses 
entailed by the hostility of the French, after 
the declaration of war against that people 
by England and Holland, in 1689. For 
the next eight years sharp conflicts occurred 
between the fleets of the rival nations, which 
were happily terminated by the treaty of 
Ryswick, 1697. In a commercial point of 
view, the French inflicted more injury upon 
themselves by their lavish and ill-directed 
expenditure, than upon their old-established 
opponents;! but the improvement in the 
condition of their marine, through the ex- 
ertions of the ministers of Louis XIV., 
rendered their enmity peculiarly disastrous 
to the mercantile shipping of their foes. 
During the war, no less than 4,200 British 
merchant-vessels were captured, including 
manyEast-Indiamen, which were intercepted 

counts being examined by commissioners appointed 
by the king, it appeared that their sales, in twenty 
years, amounted to no more than 9,100,000 livres, 
and that three-quarters of their capital-stock were 
totally lost. Assistance from the state again propped 
up the association, and a slight gleam of prosperity 
followed; for in the years 1687 and 1691, two divi- 
dends, each of fifteen per cent., were for the first 
time paid from profits. The war with England and 
Holland was not beneficial in its general results ; for 
although the French Cy. made extensive captures, 
their very success helped to encourage the swarms 
of privateers, which covered the seas and carried into 
the ports of France a great number of English and 
Dutch prizes with rich cargoes, to be sold at any 
price they would fetch. This proceeding caused a 
glut in the market, and obliged the company to sell 
their goods at unremunerative prices, or not at all. 


both on the Indian seas and on the middle 
passage; and, off the coast of Galway,in 1695, 
all the four homeward-bound vessels of the 
company were taken by a French fleet.* 

In India, the wrath of the emperor had 
been excited by the frequent piracies com- 
mitted on the shipping of Mogul merchants,! 
and especially by the plunder of his own 
vessel the Guj-Suwaee, while engaged in 
conveying pilgrims to Mecca, in 1695. 
Aurungzebe himself could not detest these 
sacrilegious sea-robbers more heartily than 
did the whole body of European traders ; 
but they being at war with one another, 
could make no united effort for the sup- 
pression of the common foe. The tide of 
popular feeling among the Mohammedans 
rose against the English agencies at Surat 
and Swally with so much violence, that the 
Mogul governor placed the factors and 
others, to the number of sixty-three persons, 
in irons — not from any voluntary harshness 
on his part, but as a necessary measure 
to preserve their lives amid the tumult. 
Large rewards were held out, both by the 
government of England and by the E. I. 
Cy., for the apprehension of the leading 
offenders. A sum of jS1,000 was offered 
for the person of Captain Avery; but he 
escaped, having proceeded to the Bahamas, 
where his ship was sold and the crew dis- 

* Although the merchantmen of the E. I. Cy., 
at this period, proved unable to cope with French 
ships-of-the-line, and were even captured by the 
desperate hardihood of privateering adventure, they 
were, nevertheless, by no means ill-provided with the 
appliances of war. To encourage the building of ships 
of" above 550 tons burden, and capable of defence 
against the pirates of Algiers, then termed the "Turk- 
ish Rovers," it was enacted by parliament, soon after 
the restoration of Charles II., that for a certain num- 
ber of years, whoever should build ships with three 
decks, or with two decks and a-half, and a forecastle, 
with a space of five feet between each deck, and 
mountedwith at least thirty cannon, should for the first 
two voyages receive one-tenth part of all the customs 
that were payable on their export and import lading. 
— (Milburn's Oriental Commerce, i., Introduction, 
xxxv.) A Vindication of the E. I. Cy., generally 
attributed to Sir Josiah Child, and published in 
1677, states that they employed from thirty to thirty- 
five ships of from 300 to 600 tons burden, carrying 
from forty to seventy guns, which must of course 
have been very light. — (Macpherson's Commerce 
with India, 133.) In an official statement of their 
affairs, published in 1689, the company assert, that in 
seven years they had built sixteen ships of from 900 to 
1,300 tons, and had in India or on the homeward 
voyage eleven of their own, and four "permision 
ships" (i. e., licensed by them) with cargoes worth 
above £360,000, besides a fleet comprising four- 
teen of their own and six permission ships bound 
for India, China, &c, with cargoes worth £670,000. 

persed ; several of them were, however, 
seized and executed. The English found 
means of extricating themselves from their 
difficulties, and prevailed upon Aurungzebe 
to confide to them the task of convoying pil- 
grim vessels to Mocha, J at a charge of 40,000 
rupees for a large, and 30,000 for a small 
vessel. The good understanding thus re- 
stored was soon destroyed by the daring 
piracies committed by a Captain Kidd and 
others off Surat. § The emperor could no 
longer be appeased with assurances that 
such and such culprits had been executed in 
different British colonies, or hung in chains 
at Tilbury ; and he declared, that since all 
other means had failed to check these dis- 
graceful proceedings, he would put an end 
to European commerce with his subjects, 
unless the English, French, and Dutch 
would consent to sign a bond, engaging to 
make good any future depredations com- 
mitted by pirates on the Indian Seas — an 
arrangement to which the European agents 
were most reluctantly compelled to assent. 

The list of difficulties which environed 
the E. I. Cy., at this period, is still incom- 
plete. While weighed down by pecuniary 
involvements, and unable, for years together, 
to pay a dividend, the project for a new 
Scottish company was again brought for- 
ward, and a very advantageous charter 

t One of the negotiations between Aurungzebe 
and the English factors, regarding piratical seizures, 
is recorded by Khan Khan, an author frequently 
quoted in the previous section on the Mohammedan 
portion of Indian history. He makes no mention of 
the war which had previously taken place ; but says, 
that in the year 1693, a ship bound to Mecca, carrying 
eighty guns and furnished with 400 muskets, was 
attacked by an English vessel of small size. A gun 
having burst in the Mogul ship, the enemy boarded, 
and " although the Christians have no courage at 
the sword, yet by bad management the vessel was 
taken." Khan Khan was sent by the viceroy of 
Guzerat to demand redress at Bombay. He de- 
scribes his reception as being conducted with great 
dignity and good order, and with a considerable dis- 
play of military power. He negotiated with elderly 
gentlemen in rich clothes ; and although they some- 
times laughed more heartily than became so grave 
an occasion, yet he seems to have been favourably 
impressed with their sense and intelligence. The 
English alleged that the king's ships had been 
captured by pirates, for whom they were not answer- 
able, and explained their coining money in the name 
of their own sovereign (which was another complaint 
against them), by stating that they had to purchase 
investments at places where the money of the em- 
peror would not pass. No definite result appears to 
have attended this interview.— (Elphinstone, ii., 556.) 

t Mocha and Judda are the seaports of Mecca. 

§ Captain Kidd and several of his associates, being 
eventually captured, were executed at Tilbury Fort. 


granted to these adventurers, in 1698, with 
authority to trade to the East as well as 
West Indies, Africa, and America. This 
enterprise — which issued in the formation of 
the ill-fated Darien settlement — was soon 
succeeded by another more directly hostile 
to the E. I. Cy., and which was, in fact, a 
complete triumph on the part of the inter- 
loping interest. On the termination of the 
French war, the government of England 
looked around eagerly for means to liqui- 
date the heavy expenses thereby incurred. 
The E. I. Cy.. offered a loan of £700,000, at 
four per cent, interest, provided their charter 
should be confirmed, and the monopoly of 
the Indian trade secured to them by act of 
parliament. Their opponents tried a similar 
expedient, with more success, by proposing 
to raise a sum of £2,000,000 sterling, at 
eight per cent., on condition of being 
invested with exclusive privileges, and un- 
fettered by any obligation to trade on a 
joint-stock, except as they themselves might 
afterwards desire. After much discussion, a 
bill was passed by the legislature, by which 
it was enacted that a loan of £2,000,000 
should be raised, by subscription, for the 
service of government. Natives and fo- 
reigners, bodies politic and corporate, were 
alike at liberty to contribute their quota 
towards the total sum, which was to bear an 
interest of eight per cent, per annum. In 
return for this accommodation, letters-patent 
were issued, incorporating an association, 
called the General Society trading to the 
East Indies.* The members were autho- 
rised to adventure severally, to the amount of 
their subscriptions : or, if they so desired, 
might be formed into a joint-stock com- 
pany. This new monopoly was to last until 
1711 ; after that time, it was to terminate 
whenever the government chose, upon three 
years' notice, the original capital of two 
million having been first refunded to the 
subscribers. The old company were treated 
very summarily; the proviso of three years' 
noticef was, in their case, just so far regarded 
as to ensure them leave to trade with India 
* Mill, i., 141. Bruce says, the old association 
were obliged to assume the name of the London 
company, in contradistinction to the new corporation, 
which bore the more popular because national name 
of the English company (iii. 250) ; but these terms, 
used only for a few years, would but confuse the 
reader if interwoven in the text. 

f Bruce, iii. 257. The old company declared 
their rivals "invaders of their rights, and authorised 
interlopers only." The new association were yet 
more violent in their invectives ; and " the charge of 
piracy," says Mill, " became a general calumny with 

till 1701. "With regard to both associations, 
it was decreed that the private fortunes of 
the adventurers should be responsible for 
the liquidation of liabilities incurred in 
their public capacity ; and if further divi- 
dends were made by the old company before 
the payment of their debts, the members who 
accepted them were to be held responsible 
for the sums thus unduly received. 

This measure, like all others based on 
injustice, produced much evil and little 
good to any party. The conduct of the 
government, in expecting a trading body to 
traffic largely and profitably, after the ab- 
straction of its entire capital, under the 
name of a loan, was in itself as glaring an 
absurdity as to have opened the veins of a 
man in full health, and then, after leaving 
him just blood enough to prolong a feeble 
existence, to expect from his emaciated frame 
vigorous and healthy action. As for the old 
company, they determined to persevere under 
all circumstances. The trade was too long- 
established, and too valuable, to be re- 
linquished easily; and they wrote out to 
their servants in India, that they had re- 
solved to bear up against ill-fortune with ' f a 
true Roman courage." Taking advantage 
of the clause which permitted corporations 
to hold stock in the new company, they 
resolved to trade separately and in their 
own name, after their three years of char- 
tered privileges should have expired, and de- 
voted the sum of £315,000 to this purpose ; 
at the same time avowing their belief " that 
a civil battle was to be fought" between 
them and their adversaries ; for that " two 
E. I. Companies in England could no more 
subsist without destroying each other, than 
two kings at the same time regnant in the 
same kingdom ; " adding, that " being 
veterans, if their servants abroad would do 
their duty, they did not doubt of the vic- 
tory : that if the world laughed at the 
pains the two companies took to ruin each 
other, they could not help it, as they were 
on good ground, and had a charter." 

The world — at least the Indian portion of it 
which all the different parties in India endeavoured 
to blacken their competitors" (i. 136.) Sir Nicholas 
Waite openly denounced the London company to the 
Mogul as " thieves and confederates with pirates" 
(Bruce, iii. 337) ; and even applied to the governor 
of Surat to have their servants put in irons for an 
insult which, he asserted, had been offered to the 
ambassador of the King of England. Unfortunately, 
a great deal of personal ill-feeling existed between, 
the representatives of the two societies, to which 
much of the impolitic harshness of their measures 
must be attributed. 


did not laugh, but was simply amazed by 
the hostilities of two powerful trading bodies, 
each professing to act under the direct patron- 
age of their mutual sovereign. Aurungzebe 
listened incredulously to the representations 
of Sir William Norris, who was dispatched 
to the Mogul court at the cost of the new 
company, but in the character of royal 
ambassador. Norris is accused of having 
conducted himself with unjustifiable vio- 
lence towards the rival officials; and the 
same complaint is urged still more strongly 
against Sir Nicholas Waite, who had formerly 
acted as agent to the old company, but had 
been dismissed their employ. The new cor- 
poration in this, as in several other cases, 
were glad to avail themselves of the local 
knowledge possessed by the discarded ser- 
vants of their opponents ; and Waite was 
appointed their representative at Surat, with 
the title of president ; to which that of con- 
sul was superadded by the king, as also 
to the chief of the three projected pre- 
sidencies at Hooghlyin Bengal, Masulipatam 
on the Coromandel coast, and in the island 
of Borneo. Each party maligned the other 
to the Mogul government, and lavished 
large sums of money for the purpose of 
gaining exclusive privileges. Prince Azim, 
the governor of Bengal, received presents 
from both sides — 16,000 rupees from the 
old company, and 14,000 from the new;* 
but without understanding their ground 
of difference. The emperor, equally puzzled 
by these proceedings, wrote privately to 
Seyed Sedula, "an holy priest at Surat/'f 
desiring him to search out which of the two 
parties was really authorised by the Eng- 
lish nation. The reply of the Seyed is not 

* Stewart's History of Bengal, 342. 

t Bruce's Annals of the E. L Cy., iii., 466. 

% Bernier, while serving Danechmund Khan in the 
capacity of physician, heard from the lips of this 
nobleman the particulars of a singular interview 
which he had just returned from witnessing between 
Aurungzebe and his former tutor. The latter had 
enjoyed for many years a jaghire, bestowed upon 
him by Shah Jehan. Upon the triumph of the 
schemes of his ambitious pupil, the old man pre- 
sented himself as a candidate for office. Aurungzebe, 
wearied by his importunity, dismissed him. declaring 
that he owed him no gratitude for his ill-directed 
labours and erroneous instruction. "You taught 
me," he exclaimed, " that the whole of Frangistan 
(Europe) was no more than some inconsiderable 
island, of which the most powerful monarch was for- 
merly the King of Portugal, then the King of Hol- 
land, and afterwards the King of England. In re- 
gard to the other sovereigns of Frangistan (such as 
the King of France, and the King of Andalusia), you 
told me they resembled our petty rajahs ; and that 
the potentates of Ilindoostan eclipsed the glory of all 
2 H 

recorded ; probably it was indefinite and 
unimportant : but had the same question 
been addressed to a European versed in the 
politics of the day, the answer might have 
involved a revelation of quite a new order 
of things to the mind of the despotic but 
philosophical monarch. J What a text full 
of strange doctrines would have been con- 
tained in the fact plainly stated, that both 
companies represented the will of different 
sections of a free though monarchical 
nation ; — that, indeed, " the whole of this 
contest was only one division of the great 
battle that agitated the state between the 
tories and the whigs, of whom the former 
favoured the old company, and the latter 
the new."§ 

The fierce contention and excessive com- 
petition of the rival associations, proved 
almost equally injurious to both. The new 
company, upon the first depression of their 
stock in the market, had manifested an in- 
clination to unite with the old body ; but 
the latter held off, hoping to drive the enemy 
out of the field; and they succeeded in obtain- 
ing an act of parliament continuing them as 
a distinct corporation. The struggle, how- 
ever, cost them dearly ; and their stock, in 
these times of fluctuation and anxiety, varied 
in value between 300 and 37 per cent.|| 
The market was overladen, there being at 
one time as many as sixty ships abroad in 
India and returning. Great quantities of 
Indian-wrought silks, stuffs, and calicoes 
were imported, and from their low price, 
worn by all classes. The silk-weavers of 
London became extremely tumultuous; and 
in 1697, attempted to seize the treasure at 
the East India-house. % Order was restored 

other kings." A profound and comprehensive know- 
ledge of the history of mankind ; familiarity with the 
origin of states, their progress and decline ; the 
events, accidents, or errors, owing to which such 
great changes and mighty revolutions have been 
effected ;— these were subjects which Aurungzebe pro- 
nounced to be of more importance to a prince than 
the possession " of great skill in grammar, and such 
knowledge as belongs to a doctor of the law," or 
even proficiency in the difficult Arabic language, 
which no one could hope to attain without " ten or 
twelve years of close application." This mighty 
prince is certainly not the first who has lamented 
the waste of the precious hours of youth " in the 
dry, unprofitable, and never-ending task of learning 
words :" yet, considering the importance attached by 
Mussulmans to the power of reading the Koran in 
the original tongue, it seems strange that so zea- 
lous a believer should have expressed himself thus 
forcibly on that point. — (Brock's Bernier,ii., 165-6-7.) 

§ Grant's Sketch of History of E. I. Cy., 119. 

|| Anderson's Origin of Commerce, ii., p. 43. 

«H Idem, 633. 


I for the time ; but the discontents were 
renewed by the augmented imports of the 
years 1688-'9 ; and the loud complaints 
from Spitalfields, Norwich, Canterbury, Co- 
ventry, &c, of the detrimental effect on the 
nation, occasioned by the numerous manu- 
j facturers thrown out of employ, and likewise 
I of the largely increased exportation of sil- 
j ver,* succeeded in procuring the enactment 
, of a law prohibiting the use in England or 
1 sale, except for re-exportation, of silks 
: wrought, or calicoes printed in Persia, 
' China, or the East Indies, either for apparel 
! or furniture, under a penalty of £200, after 
Michaelmas, 1701 ; and a duty of fifteen 
' per cent, was soon afterwards imposed upon 
' muslins. These regulations materially re- 
! duced the value of the Eastern trade; and 
j probably helped to accelerate the union of the 
two associations, — a measure strenuously 
urged by King William, but not carried out 
till after the accession of Anne. An in- 
denture tripartite was entered into by the 
queen and the rival companies in 1702, by 
which it was agreed that a full and com- 
plete union should take place at the termi- 
nation of the ensuing seven years, the in- 
termediate time to be occupied in winding 
up the separate concerns of each party. 
The coalition took place before the lapse of 
the stated interval, being hastened by the 
alarm occasioned by the demand of govern- 
ment for the subscription of a new loan of 
£1,200,000, without interest. The com- 
panies, knowing from the experience of the 
past, the danger of the present crisis, dreaded 
the formation of a fresh body of adven- 
turers, or renewed discussions on the sub- 
ject of open trade with India. They forth- 

* From 1698 to 1703 inclusive, the silver ex- 
ported from England to the East Indies amounted to 
£3,171,405; the gold to £128,229: total, £3,299,634, 
or, on an average, £549,939 per ann. The East 
India goods re-exported from England from 1698 
to 1702 inclusive, were estimated at the value of 
£2.538,934, or, on an average, £507,787 per ann. — 
(Macpherson's Commerce, i., Introduction, p. xii.) 

■f To equalise the shares of the two companies, it 
was agreed that the old, or London company, should 
purchase at par as much of the capital of the new 
or English company lent to government, as, added 
to the £315,000 which they had already subscribed, 
should equalise their respective portions. The dead 
stock of the London company was estimated at 
£330,000 ; that of the English company at £70,000 : 
therefore, the latter paid the former £130,000 to 
place the shares of this part of the common estate 
on the same basis. The assets or effects of the Lon- 
don company, in India, fell short of their debts ; and 
Lord Godolphin decreed that they should pay by 
instalments to the United company the sum of 

with laid aside all separate views, and 
agreed to furnish jointly the amount re- 
quired. Their differences were submitted 
to the arbitration of Sidney, Earl of Go- 
dolphin, then lord high treasurer of England; 
and an act was passed, in 1708, consti- 
tuting them one corporate body, under 
the name of the United Company of Mer- 
chants trading to the East Indies, with 
continuance only until the year 1726, and 
then " to cease and determine, on three 
years' notice and repayment by government 
of their capital stock of £3,200,000."t 

While this matter was in progress of 
arrangement, the long-expected death of the 
aged emperor took place, and was imme- 
diately followed by the fierce war of suc- 
cession, with equal anxiety anticipated by 
the native and European inhabitants of 
Hindoostan. When the news reached Surat, 
the English president (Sir John Gayer), 
anxious to transmit the intelligence to the 
company, yet fearful of plainly stating cir- 
cumstances which, in a political crisis, might 
either by their truth or falsehood expose 
the promulgator to danger, took a middle 
course, by stating in an allegory easy to be 
understood, " that the sun of this hemis- 
phere had set, and that the star of the 
second magnitude being under his meridian, 
had taken his place ; but that it was feared 
the star of the first magnitude, though 
under a remoter meridian, would struggle 
to exalt itself." % 

The victory of Prince Mauzim (the star 
of the first magnitude) over his brothers, 
Azim and Kaumbuksh, and his elevation to 
the throne, have been already related (see 
p. 154) ; as also the rapid decay of the once 

£96,615 : the English company, having their balance 
on the right side of the account, were to receive 
from the same fund the sum of £66,005. The debts 
of both companies in Britain were ordained to be 
discharged before March, 1709; and as those of the 
London body amounted to nearly £400,000, the 
directors were empowered to call upon their pro- 
prietors, by three several instalments, for the means 
of liquidation. The £1,200,000 now advanced to 
government, without interest, being added to the 
previous sum of £2,000,000, constituted a loan of 
£3,200,000, yielding interest at the rate of five per 
cent, on the whole. — (Bruce, iii., 635 — 639 ; 667 — 
679.) To assist them in raising the required loan, the 
company were empowered to borrow, on bonds, to 
the extent of £1,500,000 on their common seal, over 
and above what they were legally authorised to do 
before, and also to make calls of money from their 
proprietors. — ( Charters of JE. I. Cy., pp. 243 — 367 ; 
Anderson, iii., 29.) — The company continued to bear 
the title now assumed until the year 1833. 
j % Bruce's Annals of E. I. Cy., iii., 616. 


mighty fabric of Mogul power, which had 
made perceptible progress even before the 
death of Aurungzebe. 

Before proceeding to describe the growth 
of English ascendancy, it may be need- 
ful, for the sake of readers not conversant 
with the sources from which the narrative of 
European intercourse with India has been 
derived, to notice the grievous dearth of 
native history, which has largely contributed 
to render many ponderous tomes published 
on Anglo-Indian affairs, almost as un- 
readable as a Blue-Book, or the ledger of a 
commercial firm. The valuable work of 
Bruce is professedly compiled from the 
records of the E. I. Cy. ; but as he has very 
judiciously thought fit to give an able, though 
brief sketch of the general state of European 
politics in successive reigns, it would have 
been no less pertinent to the subject to 
have selected from the voluminous despatches 
of the Indian presidencies, various interest- 
ing illustrations of the condition and charac- 
ter both of the Hindoo and Mohammedan 
population. Such knowledge is useful even 
in a purely commercial point of view; and 
there is the greater cause for surprise that 
it should have been neglected by this writer, 
because in almost the only instance in which 
he deviates from his general rule by relating 
an affray with the Hindoos, occasioned by 
an act of wanton aggression on the part of 
the crews of two of the company's vessels, 
he introduces it as " one of those untoward 

* These vessels had gone from Surat to Carwar to 
bring off the pepper, &c. The crew of one of them 
stole a cow and killed it, thus offending both the 
rights and prejudices of the Hindoos ; being re- 
sisted, they fired at and killed two native children of 
rank. The factory was in danger of destruction, 
and the agents of imprisonment; but proceedings 
were suspended by reason of the impending battle 
between the Mahratta rajah Sumbajee, and Aurung- 
zebe. Bruce adds, that the Malabar trade received 
a severe check ; which would be the natural result of 
such an aggression, as the produce was chiefly 
procured through native merchants. — (ii., 545.) 

f Annals, iii., 658-'9. Hamilton asserts, that a ter- 
rible catastrophe occurred at Batecala about the year 
1670, in consequence of a bull-dog belonging to the 
English factory having killed a cow consecrated to 
a pagoda or temple. The enraged priests, believing 
the injury to have been intentional, raised a mob 
and killed the whole of the English (eighteen in 
number) while engaged in a hunting party. — (i. 280.) 
The same writer describes the neighbouring king- 
dom of Canara as being generally governed by a 
female sovereign ; and he adds, " the subjects of this 
country observe the laws so well, that robbery or 
murder are hardly heard of among them; and a 
stranger may pass through the Country without 
being asked where he is going, or what business he 
has." — {New Account of East Indies, i. 279.) 

events which strongly mark the necessity of 
attention to the rights, as well as to the 
prejudices of the natives."* Nearly at the 
close of his third and last quarto volume, 
he quotes the humiliating observation of 
President Pitt (the grandfather of Lord 
Chatham), that "when the Europeans first 
settled in India, they were mightily admired 
by the natives, believing they were as in- 
nocent as themselves; but since, by their 
example, they are grown very crafty and 
cautious ; and no people better understand 
their own interest : so that it was easier to 
effect that in one year which you sha'nt do 
now in a century ; and the more obliging 
your management, the more jealous they 
are of you."f 

This evidence of the effect of communica- 
tion between nominally Christian nations and 
a people still unenlightened by the teaching 
of the Gospel, is unhappily confirmed by the 
common testimony borne by impartial wit- 
nesses regarding the state of various native 
populations after their intercourse with Eu- 
ropeans. The bigotry of Romish commu- j 
nities, and the indifference (masked under 
the name of toleration) of Protestants, had 
rendered the profession of Christianity in 
the mouth of the former a pretext for cruel ! 
persecution, and in that of the latter little 
better than an unmeaning sound; the i 
shameless immorality of Europeans in gene- j 
ral, giving cause for the Indians to doubt 
whether they had really any religion at all. J j 

J The Dutch, from the first commencement of 
their intercourse with the East Indies, made strenu- 
ous efforts for the conversion of the natives of Java, 
Formosa, Ceylon, and the Spice Islands generally, 
by the establishment of missions and schools, and 
the translation of the Scriptures ; but on the con- 
tinent of India their stations were small and tem- 
porary, and their spiritual labours partook of the 
same character. The good and zealous minister, 
Baldseus, visited the Dutch possessions of Tuticorin 
and Negapatam on the Coromandel coast, in 1660, 
and extended his visitation along the southern coast 
of the continent as far as Coulan (Quilon.) He 
describes the state of the Parawar, or cast of fisher- ; 
men converted by Francis Xavier and other Romish 
missionaries, as little else than a peculiar phase of 
idolatry, their religion consisting in the mere out- 
ward acts of worshipping images, counting beads, 
and crossing themselves. The Danes, afterwards so : 
justly celebrated for their earnest and well-directed 
labours in the missionary field, made no efforts of 
this description until they had been eighty years in 
India — that is, until 1706-'7. Before that time the i 
impression they had endeavoured to make upon the 
natives by the scrupulous integrity of their commer- 
cial dealings, was greatly impaired by their irreligion 
and immorality. — (Hough, iii., 181.) With regard 
to the English, the description given by Ferishta, at 
the commencement of the 17th century, was pro- 


The E. I. Cy. followed the example too 
generally shown by the government of Eng- 
land throughout the seventeenth century, 
excepting, perhaps, during the Protectorate. 
They contented themselves with sending 
out a few chaplains, not always well selected ; 
and made no provision for the establishment 
of places of worship, consecrated to the 
decent celebration of the observances of 
their common faith. The first English 
church in India was erected in 1680, in 
Fort St. George, Madras, for the use of 
the factory, by the governor, Streynsham 
Masters. This good and earnest man com- 
pleted the building " without any aid or 
countenance of the company in order 
thereto. "* In fact, the missionary spirit 
intimately connected with the earliest colo- 
nial and commercial enterprises of the 
nation had been swallowed up (at least for a 
time) in the thirst for gain ; and this cir- 
cumstance is in itself a sufficient reason 
for the disastrous condition to which the 
E. I. Cy. found themselves reduced. No 
body of men, either in a private or public 
capacity, ever yet (in popular phraseology) 
" made their ledger their Bible" with im- 
punity; and the punishment of an erring 
community is usually more perceptible than 
that of au individual, for the evident reason 
that the one has only a present existence, 
while for the other there is a judgment to 
come. We are all inclined to pass too 
lightly over such facts as these : we do not 
care to trace the workings of a superin- 
tending Providence, checking by adversity, 
or encouraging by prosperity, the every-day 
concerns of a mercantile company ; never- 
theless, the pith of the matter — the true phi- 
losophy of history — is in all cases the same. 
The flagrant blunders made by men noted 
for shrewdness and intrigue — the total failure 
of their most cunningly-devised schemes,bear 
daily witness amongst us of the fallibility of 
human judgment: — would that they taught 

bably regarded by his countrymen as a correct 
account of the protestant creed at its close; so little 
effort had been made to set forth, in its truth and 
purity, the doctrines of the reformed faith. The 
Portuguese Jesuits, who were long in attendance 
on the court of Akber, were very likely to have 
accused their rivals of participation in the Nestorian 
heresy (which they had made the pretext for perse- 
cuting the Syrian Christians on the Malabar coast) ; 
otherwise it would be difficult to account for some 
of the assertions of Ferishta. " The persuasion of 
this nation," he writes, " is different from that of 
other Europeans, particularly the Portuguese, with 
whom they are in a state of constant warfare. They 
assert that Jesus was a mortal, and the prophet of 

us also the wisdom of implicit reliance on re- 
vealed truth, and of constant obedience to its 
pure and consistent dictates ! 

The century did not, however, close 
without some promise of better things, at 
least on the part of the English government ; 
for the letters-patent of 1698 contain a 
special proviso, binding the general company 
to provide a chaplain on board every ship, 
and for every garrison and superior factor}^, 
in each of which a decent and convenient 
place was to be set apart for divine service 
only. These ministers were to learn Portu- 
guese, and likewise the native language of 
the country where they should reside, " the 
better to enable them to instruct the Gentoos 
that shall be servants or slaves of the said 
company, or of their agents in the Protestant 
religion."f These provisions were, it is 
evident, intended for the exclusive benefit 
of British subjects. The duty of spreading 
the Gospel among Indian populations was 
one which England was slow to recognise. 
Portugal, Spain, and France, Holland and 
Denmark, all took precedence of her in this 
great field; and it was not until after a 
long and arduous struggle, that the advo- 
cates of missionary exertion in our land 
succeeded in obtaining the sanction of go- 
vernment for their attempts to place before 
the people of India those divinely-revealed 
truths, which must be either entirely disbe- 
lieved, or else accepted as the only solid basis 
whereon to establish that " public virtue" 
which is as necessary to the true greatness 
of a nation, as integrity to the character of 
an individual. The progress of Christianity 
in India belongs, however, to a distinct 
section of this work ; and its history, so far 
as England is concerned, is far subsequent 
to the present period, of which the chief 
interest lies in the succession of events im- 
mediately preceding the struggle between 
the French and English for political ascen- 
dancy in Hindoostan. 

God ; that there is only one God, and that he is with- 
out equal, and has no wife nor child, — according to 
the belief of the Portuguese. The English have a 
separate king, independent of the King of Portugal, 
to whom they owe no allegiance ; but, on the con- 
trary, these two people put each other to death 
wheresoever they meet. At present, in consequence 
of the interference of Jehangeer Padshah, they are 
at peace with one another, though God only knows 
how long they will consent to have factories in the 
same town, and to live on terms of amity and friend- 
ship with one another." — (Brigg's Ferishta, iv., 541.) 

* Hough's Christianity in India, iii., 377. 

\ Charters, Treaties, and Grants of E. I. Cy. 
(English and Indian), from 1601 to 1772. 



Indo - European Settlements in the 
Eighteenth Centuhy. — The death of Au- 
rungzebe and the junction of the two com- 
panies, mark the commencement of a new 
epoch ; before entering upon which it may be 
useful to sketch the position of the various 
European nations whose settlements and fac- 
tories dotted the coast-line of the continent 
of India. On the western side of the great 
peninsula, the Portuguese still retained pos- 
session of the city of Goa; the fortresses of 
Damaun, Bassein, and Choul ; and of Diu 
in Guzerat ;* but the prestige of their 
power was gone for ever : by land, the 
Dutch, the Mogul, the Mahrattas, and their 
old foe the zamorin of Calicut, plundered 
them without mercy ; and from the seaward 
they were harassed by the restless and 
vengeful hostility of the Muscat Arabs,f 
until the once haughty invaders were so 
completely humbled, that the English presi- 
dent and council at Surat, during their 
worst season of depression, could find no 
stronger terms in which to describe their 
own degradation, than by declaring that 
they had become " as despicable as the 
Portuguese in India, or the Jews in Spain."J 

The possessions of the Dutch were, for 
the most part, conquests from thePortuguese. 
On the Coromandel coast their chief settle- 
ment was that of Negapatam : in Bengal, 

* Gemelli, quoted by Anderson, ii., 644. — He 
adds, that they had " the islands of Timor, Solor, 
and Macao subject to China; and in Africa, An- 
gola, Sena, Sofala, Mozambique, and Mombas — many 
in number, but of no great value." 

f The Arabs expelled the Portuguese from Muscat 
about the middle of the 17th century, and main- 
tained almost incessant warfare against them for the 
next fifty years, but did not molest other European 
traders till nearly the expiration of that period. In 
1697, the Portuguese joined the King of Persia 
against the Arabs, whereupon these latter divided 
their fleet into two squadrons ; sent one of them 
to burn the Portuguese settlement at Mombas, 
and employed the other in destroying the factory 
at Mangalore. The Persian monarch offered the 
English the same privileges conceded to them at 
Gombroon for co-operation in the capture of Ormuz, 
if they would now assist him in attacking Muscat. 
The company's troops and shipping were not in a 
condition to comply with this request, as they were 
otherwise inclined to do, and an evasive answer was 
returned. The suspicions of the Arabs were pro- 
bably aroused by the negotiation ; for they shortly 
afterwards commenced hostilities against the English, 
which their improvement in naval tactics rendered 
increasingly disastrous ; until, in the year 1704-5, 
we find the court of the London company expressing 
their determination, so soon as the war in Europe 
should terminate, " to equip armed vessels to clear 
the seas and to root out that nest of pirates, the 
Muscat Arabs." — Annals, iii., 557. 

% Bruce's Annals of E. I. Cy., iii., 307. 

they had posts or factories at Chinsura, 
Hooghly, Cossimbazar, Dacca, Patna, and 
other places : in Guzerat, a station at Surat 
of considerable importance in a commercial 
point of view; and dependent posts at Ahme- 
dabad,§ Agra,|| and Baroach. Cochin, Cran- 
ganore, Coulan (Quilon), and Cananore, on 
the Malabar coast, were clogged with heavy 
military expenses, which greatly outweighed 
the profits of the trade connected with 
them. As many as a thousand soldiers 
were, for some years, maintained here,^f 
chiefly with the object of overawing the 
Hindoo princes, who, though frequently con- 
quered, had never been completely sub- 
jugated either by the Portuguese or the 
Dutch; but on the contrary, were always 
ready to take advantage of any symptom 
of weakness on the part of their oppressors, 
to put forth an unexpected amount of armed 
hostility. The Malabar pepper is considered 
the finest in India ; and the Dutch, although 
obliged to pay double the price for which 
they could obtain abundant supplies in 
Bantam and Jambee, made strong efforts to 
monopolise the market, but without effect. 
They stigmatised the sale of pepper to other 
nations as a contraband trade, and endea- 
voured to blockade the ports of Malabar ; but 
with so little effect, that they could not even 
prevent the natives from maintaining an open 

§ Founded in 1620, and abandoned in 1716. 

|| Founded in 1618, and abandoned in 1744. 

^[ A great trade was at this period carried on at 
Surat by Moorish, Armenian, and Arabian mer- 
chants, with Persia, Mocha, Acheen, and elsewhere. 
The English, Dutch, and French had establishments 
here, under the protection of the Mohammedan go- 
vernment. Excellent ships, costly but extremely 
durable, were built of teak; and one of the resident 
merchants (a wealthy and enterprising Moor) is said 
to have possessed as many as fifteen or sixteen sail, 
of from 100 to 500 tons burthen. — (Account of Trade 
of India ; by Charles Lockyer : London, 1711.) The 
Dutch factory here proved the most advantageous of 
any formed by them in India, and continued ex- 
tremely lucrative until Bombay usurped the place 
of Surat, and the dominahcy of the English became 
established. Admiral Stavorinus writes from official 
documents, that the Dutch company, in the ten 
years ending 1698, gained, upon an average, a 
sum of about £46,315 sterling, or about 850 per 
cent, upon the finer spices ; and on their other 
goods a profit of £23,266, although only in the 
proportion of about 59 per cent, on the prime 
cost. Valentyn, an excellent authority, states the 
gain of the Dutch at Surat, on various articles, as 
follows: — Upon cloves, 665; nutmegs, 1,453; mace, 
718; copper in bars, 128; ditto in plates, 31; ben- 
zoin, 40; gumlac, 34; quicksilver, 27; and Vermil- 
lion, 19: and he adds, that the clear profit of the 
head factory amounted yearly to between six and 
seven tons of gold, or from £55,000 to £64,000 ster- 
ling. (Quoted in Stavorinus' Voyages^ iii., 112 — 114.) 



traffic with the notorious pirate Kidd. The 
Dutch governor, writing in 1698, remarks 
" that it is to he regretted the company- 
carried so much sail here in the beginning, 
that they are now desirous of striking them, 
in order to avoid being overset."* The 
Dutch committed the common error of 
putting forth pretensions unjust in them- 
selves, and maintainable only by force. The 
attempt failed, and the means employed 
produced disastrous consequences. The re- 
duction of the land establishments, and the 
breaking up of the fleet heretofore sta- 
tioned on the coast, accompanied by the 
avowed determination of no longer obstruct- 
ing the navigation, were tokens of weakness 
which the native princes were not likely to 
view in the light of voluntary concessions. 
In 1701, war broke out with the zamorin, 
or Tamuri rajah, the existing represen- 
tative of a dynasty which had for two cen- 
turies formed a bulwark to India against 
the inroads of European powers in this 
direction ; and hostilities were carried on at 
the epoch at which we are now arrived.f 

The efforts of the Danes, based on a 
very slender commercial capital, had not 
prospered. In 1689, Tranquebar, their only 
settlement of importance, was nearly wrested 
from them by their territorial sovereign, the 
rajah of Tanjore, in consequence of the in- 
trigues of the Dutch ; and was preserved to 
its rightful owners solely by the armed in- 
terference of an English detachment sent 
to their relief from Madras, after the siege 
had lasted six months. 

The French, as traders, were equally un- 
fortunate with the Danes. The home manu- 
facturers had become discontented on per- 
ceiving the increasing use of gold and 
silver brocades, and painted cottons. Like 
their fellow-traders in England, they suc- 
ceeded in procuring an edict (in 1687) for 

* Stavorinus' Voyages, iii., 238. 

f The Dutch had governments or factories in 
Oeylon, in Java (where stood the fine city of Batavia, 
called by its owners the Queen of the East), in Ma- 
lacca, Amboyna, Banda, Ternate, Bantam, Siam, 
Macassar, Tonquin, Japan, Gombroon (in the Per- 
sian Gulf), with chiefships at Ispahan and Bussora. 
At Arracan, they purchased rice and slaves ; and they 
had also many temporary stations in different parts 
of Asia, which it would be needless to enumerate. 

+ Milburn's Commerce, i., 384. 

§ The Presidency of Bombay held command 
over the factories of Surat, Swally, and Baroach, of 
Ahmedabad, Agra, and Lucknow (from which three 
last places the factors had been temporarily with- 
drawn) : on the Malabar coast, they had the forts of 
Carwar, Tellicherry (established by permission of the 
Hindoo rajah, about 1695), Anjengo (with the 

the immediate prohibition of this branch of 
commerce; and it was with considerable 
difficulty that the company obtained per- 
mission to dispose of their imports on hand, 
or expected by the next ships. The sale of 
piece-goods even to foreigners was forbidden, 
on the supposition that those of France would 
be purchased instead; and a high duty was 
laid on raw silk, then imported in consider- 
able quantities. Under these discouraging 
circumstances the trade languished ; and in 
1693, received a fresh blow from the cap- 
ture of Pondicherry (the chief French settle- 
ment) by the Dutch. New walls were 
raised, and the fortifications strengthened 
by the victors ; but their labours proved ill- 
directed ; for, upon the conclusion of the 
peace in 1697, the place was decreed to be 
restored to its former owners, with all its 
additional defences, on payment of £5,000 
to the Dutch government, for the expendi- 
ture thus incurred. The French company 
received orders from the king to take 
measures to prevent the recapture of Pon- 
dicherry, and frequent reinforcements were 
sent there. The national treasury must 
have furnished the funds ; for the finances of 
the association were exhausted, and in 1708 
they became absolutely bankrupt; but 
Louis XIV., fearing that the trade to India 
might otherwise entirely cease, staid all 
prosecutions at law against them for debt, 
and granted them permission to lease out 
their privileges, upon the best terms they 
could, to any private person who should be 
able to adventure the necessary capital. 
Arrangements were actually formed on this 
basis with a M. Croizat, and afterwards 
with some merchants of St. Malo.J 

The possessions of the English are 
clearly set forth in the enumeration of "dead 
stock," made by the two companies at the 
time of their union. § The central points 

sanction of the ranee or queen of Attinga, accorded 
at the same time, probably in both cases with a 
view of procuring the aid of the English against 
the aggressions of the Dutch), and the factory of 
Calicut. On the Coromandel coast, the company 
had establishments at Jinjee and Orissa; the fac- 
tories depending on the Madras Presidency, the 
city, and Fort St. George, Fort St. David, Cudda- 
lore, Porto Novo, Pettipolee, Masulipatam, Mada- 
pollam, and Vizagapatam. The factories dependent 
on the Presidency of Calcutta, or Fort Wil- 
liam, were — Balasore, Cossimbazar, Dacca, Hooghly, 
Malda, Rajmahal, and Patna. The above forts and. 
factories, with their stores and ammunition, together 
with the rents and customs arising therefrom, 
and the firmauns by right of which they were en- 
joyed, constituted the " dead stock" of the old or 
London company on the Indian continent. Some 


were then, as now, formed by the three 
presidencies of Bombay, Madras, and Cal- 
cutta, the last of which was created in 1707. 
They had at this time no dependence upon 
one another; each was absolute within its own 
limits, and responsible only to the company 
in England. The presidents were respec- 
tively commanders-in-chief of the mili- 
tary force maintained within the limits 
of their jurisdiction. The numbers com- 
prised in the several garrisons is not stated : 
but they were composed partly of recruits 
sent out from England ; partly of deserters 
from other European settlements in India ; 
and also (at least at Bombay and Surat) of 
Topasses — a name applied to the offspring 
of Portuguese and Indian parents, and also 
given, though with little reason, to Hindoo 
converts to the Romish church. Natives of 
purely Indian descent — Rajpoots for in- 
stance — were already, as has been noticed, 
employed by the company in military ser- 
vice, under the name of Sepoys, a corrup- 
tion of Sipaki (soldier.) As yet little de- 
sire had been shown to discipline them 
after the European custom. They used the 
musket, but in other respects remained 
armed and clothed according to the country 
usage, with sword and target, turban, cabay 
or vest, and long drawers. Officers of their 
own people held command over them, but 
were eventually superseded by Englishmen. 

Fort St. George (Madras), is described 
by a contemporary writer as " a port of the 
greatest consequence to the E. I. Cy., for its 
strength, wealth, and great returns made 
yearly in calicoes and muslins."* The citadel 
or inner fort had four large bastions with 
curtains, on which were mounted fifty- six 
guns and a mortar ; the western, or main 
guard, was kept by about thirty soldiers ; the 
east by a corporal's guard of six. The Eng- 
lish town, or outer fort, was furnished with 
" batteries, half-moons, and flankers, at 
proper distances, whereon are about 150 

of these posts had probably proved sources of ex- 
penditure rather than gain; Masulipatam, Pettipo- 
lee, and Madapollam, for instance, are stated by 
Bruce, in 169o-'6, to have involved a dead loss of 
above £100,000.— (Annals of E. I. Cy., iii., 184.) 
The London company's further possessions were — 
the island of St. Helena : in Persia, a factory at 
Gombroon, -with the yearly rent of about £3,333, 
still paid by the Persian monarch {see p. 208) ; and 
trading posts at Shiraz and Ispahan. On the island 
of Sumatra they had the settlements at York Fort, 
Bencoolen, Indrapore, Priaman, Sillebar, Bencoolen 
■with dependent stations ; and also a factory at Ton- 
quin. The dead stock of the new, or English com- 
pany, for which they were to be allowed £70,000 in 

guns and three mortars, mounted for de- 
fence, besides thirty-two guns more on the out- 
works, with eight field-pieces/' The garrison 
comprised 250 Europeans, each paid at the 
rate of ninety-one fanams, or £1 2s. 9d. per 
month ; and 200 topasses, at fifty or fifty- 
two fanams a-month; with some twenty ex- 
perienced European gunners, at 100 fanams 
a-month. The captains received fourteen, 
ensigns ten, Serjeants five pagodasf monthly ; 
and corporals received the same salary 
as the artillerymen. The chief gunner of 
the inner fort had fourteen, and of the 
outer works twelve pagodas. About 200 
peons, or native police, were constantly re- 
tained; and the Portuguese portion of the 
population were obliged to furnish a com- 
pany or two of trained bands at their own 
charge, on any disturbance. The Black City 
— that is, the native town, situated outside 
the fort to the northward — was encompassed 
with a thick, high brick wall, and fortified 
after the modern fashion. Maqua Town, 
where the MussulahJ boatmen live, lay to 
the southward. The sway of the company 
extended beyond these limits; for they 
owned several villages two or three miles 
further in the country, such as Egmore, 
New Town, and Old Garden, which they 
rented out to merchants or farmers for 1,100 
pagodas per annum. The " singular de- 
corum observed by the free merchants, fac- 
tors, servants, and other inhabitants," is 
especially noticed by Lockyer, who adds, 
that the excellent arrangements of Madras, 
together with " good fortifications, plenty of 
guns, and much ammunition, render it a 
bugbear to the Moors, and a sanctuary to 
the fortunate people living in it."§ 

By this account, it is evident that a 
blessing had attended the Christian labours 
of Streynsham Masters. His church, as yet 
the only building in India consecrated by 
Englishmen to divine worship, is described 
as a large and stately pile, adorned with 

the united funds, consisted of factories at Surat, in the 
Bay of Bengal, at Masulipatam, Madapollam, on the 
island of Borneo, and on the island of Pulo Condore, 
(coast of Cochin China), with the stores and ammuni- 
tion belonging to each. — Vide the " Quinque Partite 
Indenture," in charters of E. I. Cy., pp. 316 — 344. 

* Account of the Trade of India, by Charles 
Lockyer, pp. 3-'4 ; London, 1711. 

t A gold coin varying in value at different times 
from about nine to ten shillings. 

\ The planks of the large and flat-bottomed Mas- 
sulah boats are sewn together with twine, which pre- 
vents their starting even under the most violent 
shocks. Their hire was then eighteen-pence a trip. 

§ Account of Trade, p. 15. 



curious carved work, with very large win- 
dows, and furnished with a fine altar, organ, 
and other appurtenances usual to the most 
complete edifices of its kind, with the ex- 
ception of bells, which had perhaps been 
purposely omitted, on account of their in- 
timate connexion with the superstitions of 
the Brahminical creed. Two ministers were 
attached to the church, in which services 
were performed twice a-day. On Sunday, 
the customary rites were " most strictly 
observed," and " country Protestants were 
examined in the catechism." A school, 
" held in a large room under the library," 
was open to all children free of charge. 
According to Lockyer, the ecclesiastical 
establishment was altogether well conducted, 
and deserved the high character it bore 
among the people. Pious persons gave or 
bequeathed considerable sums to " the 
church," for charitable purposes ; and dying 
parents chose its representatives as trustees 
for their children,* a course of proceeding 
calculated, it is true, to place dangerous 
weapons of oppression in the hands of 
a dominant priesthood; but which, in 
the isolated and unpatronised condition 
of the religious establishments at Madras, 
can hardly be viewed in any other light 
than as evidence of the respect inspired by 
devout and upright conduct. The project 
for the formation of a municipal body had 

* The church stock of unemployed money was lent 
out at seven per cent, per ann. — (Lockyer, p. 18.) 

t Lockyer mentions a Seagate custom of £5 per 
cent., yielding 30,000 pagodas per ann. ; and a 
choultry, or land custom of two-and-a-half per cent, 
on cloth, provisions, and other goods brought in 
from the country, yielding 4,000 pagodas. Anchor- 
age and permit dues, licences for fishing, arrack and 
wine, tobacco and beetle-nut farms, mintage, &c, 
furnished various sums ; but the total must have 
fallen far short of the expectations expressed by the 
company in 1691-'2 of drawing as much from Ma- 
dras as the Dutch did from Batavia; namely, a yearly 
income of £260,000.— (Bruce, iii., 110.) 

J The governor had £200 a-year, with a gratuity 
of £100: of the six councillors, the chief had £100 
per ann. ; the others in proportion, — £70, £50, and 
£40 per ann. : six senior merchants had annual 
salaries of £40; two junior merchants, £30: five 
factors, £15: ten writers, £5: two chaplains, £100 : 
one surgeon, £36: two "essay masters," £120: one 
judge, £100: and the attorney-general, fifty pagodas. 
Married men received from five to ten pagodas per 
month, as diet money, according to their quality; 
inferior servants, dining at the general table had no 
other allowance beyond their salaries than a very 
trifling sum for washing, and oil for lamps. — (Lock- 
yer's Trade of India, p. 14.) The highest appoint- 
ment at Bombay did not exceed £300 per ann. 

§ The condition of several of the minor English 
settlements at this period is well sketched by 

been carried out, and a mayor and six alder- 
men held a court twice a-week. 

The total amount of revenue derived from 
Madras does not appear :f the scale of 
salaries was extremely moderate,^ and pro- 
bably affords a fair specimen of that laid 
down for the presidencies of Bombay and 
Calcutta, to which Lockyer's interesting 
sketches unfortunately do not extend. § Dis- 
appointment and reverses had by this time 
greatly modified the ambitious views enter- 
tained by the managers of the East India 
trade. The belligerent and costly policy 
introduced by Sir Josiah Child and his 
brother, was succeeded by a directly oppo- 
site system— to conciliate rather than to defy 
and overawe the native princes, was the 
order of the day; and to this end the 
Indian officials were directed to carry on 
their business " without the affectation of 
pomp and grandeur, as merchants ought to 
do." || The large sums spent by the rival 
companies in outvying and thwarting each 
other, constituted a departure from the gene- 
ral rule — at least in the case of the older 
body ; but upon their union, this unsatis- 
factory expenditure ceased, and the leading 
members of the new concern, who now, 
under the name of the Court of Directors, 
took the place of the Court of Committees,^]" 
enjoined upon their agents the most rigid 
frugality, which they continued to enforce 

Lockyer: — Tcgnapatam, or Fort St. David, he de- 
scribes as " a port of great profit, as well for the 
rents and income arising immediately thereon, as 
for the great quantities of calicoes and muslins that 
are brought thence for Europe. Metehlepatam 
\_Masulipatam\, Vizigapatam, and Madapollam, are 
factories continued for the sake of red-wood and the 
cotton-manufactures, which are here in the greatest 
perfection." — (p. 13.) The factory at Carvvar, on 
the Malabar coast, was provided with eight or nine 
guns and twenty-six topasses, " to defend it against 
the insults of the country people." — (p. 269.) The 
native chief, or rajah, received custom dues of one 
and-a-half per cent, on all goods imported by the 
English. At Tcllicherry, a small fort with a slight 
guard was maintained to protect the trade in pepper 
and cardamums, coir, cowries, and chanks from the 
Maldives. At Anjengo, the company possessed a 
small fort with guns, and a garrison of forty " mon- 
grel Portuguese," to protect the traffic (chiefly pep- 
per), and the " go-downs," or warehouses. Business 
was carried on by a chief agent, assisted by three or 
four counsellors, and a surgeon was included in the 
establishment. At Calicut, where there was con- 
siderable trade, the English factory was a large old 
house without fortifications or guns, which the zamo- 
rin, like the Mogul, would probably not have suffered 
any foreigners to maintain within his dominions. 

j| Bruce's Annals of E. I. Cy., iii., 452. 

^| Committees ; — in the sense of persons to whom 
something is committed. 


so strictly, that in 1724, the outlay of ahout 
£100 in the purchase of a chaise and pair 
of horses for the president at Calcutta, was 
reprehended as an unwarrantable proceed- 
ing. The directors ordered the amount to 
be refunded, remarking, that if their ser- 
vants desired " such superfluities" they 
must pay for them.* It is certain that 
the regular salaries given even to the 
highest functionaries could have barely 
covered the necessary expenses of Euro- 
peans living in a tropical climate. But 
they had other sources of emolument more 
or less legitimate. Each employe was suf- 
fered to prosecute an independent traffic, 
which he had the best opportunity of doing, 
as the coasting-trade and likewise the inter- 
course with all eastern ports north of the 
equator, except Tonquin and Formosa, had 
recentlyf been relinquished by the company 
to their servants, or to Englishmen licensed 
to reside in India as free merchants, by 
which latter arrangement an independent 
community was gradually formed. 

The plan of allowing officials to prosecute 
business in two distinct capacities, was 
fraught with evils for which the attendant 
saving in the item of salaries could make 
but poor amends. Convenience of situation 

* Thornton's British Empire in India, i., 75. 

•f The commerce had formerly been circuitous : the 
E. I. Cy's ships went first to Surat and other northern 
ports, and disposed of part of their English cargoes in 
exchange for piece-goods and other commodities, 
with which they sailed for the southern ports, where 
these articles were in demand ; and procured instead 
pepper, cloves, nutmegs, and various articles for the 
European market. This tedious and expensive mode 
of traffic was abandoned towards the close of the 
17th century; direct intercourse was established be- 
tween London and the Indian ports, and the " coun- 
try," or coasting-trade, disposed of as above related. 
The mode of conducting the inland traffic had like- 
wise undergone considerable change. " The sale of 
the commodities imported from Europe," says Mill, 
" was transacted in the simplest and easiest of all 
possible ways; namely, by auction — the mode in 
which they disposed of Indian goods in England. 
At the beginning of this traffic, the English, as well 
as other European adventurers, used to carry their 
commodities to the inferior towns and markets, 
transporting them in the hackeries [cars] of the 
country ; and established factories and warehouses 
where the goods were exposed to sale." — (iii., p. 12.) 
During the confusion, however, which prevailed 
while the empire of the Moguls was in progress of dis- 
solution, an order was issued forbidding persons in 
the E. I. Cy.'s service, or under their jurisdiction, to 
proceed far into the country without special permis- 
sion ; and the care of distributing the goods inland, 
and of introducing them to the consumers, was left 
to native and other independent dealers. The col- 
lection and custody of the goods which constituted 
a European " investment," was a more complicated 
2 T 

for the affairs of each individual was the 
first object to be desired, and as all power 
of appointment (saving where the rule of 
seniority applied) was lodged in the pre- 
sident and council jointly, they naturally 
distributed among their own body the most 
advantageous offices. The employment and 
consequent absence of a member of council 
as chief of an important factory, did not 
disqualify him for retaining his position 
in the government; but it could scarcely 
fail to detract from his efficiency, since few 
men have sufficient energy, and fewer still 
sufficient integrity, to perform at one time 
the arduous duties of a judge, legislator, and 
politician, and of the head of an extensive 
commercial establishment in conjunction 
with the business of a private merchant. 
No doubt, in most cases, the last-named 
interest would absorb the others, and neglect 
of the affairs of government would neces- 
sarily follow : to this single cause many of 
the defects observable in the management of 
affairs in India, may probably be attributed. 

Upon the union of the two companies, a 
manifest preference was evinced to the 
agents of the elder body, and especially to 
Mr. Thomas Pitt, J the president of Madras 
before mentioned, whose ability and discre- 

business, especially the purchase of the produce of 
the loom. The extreme indigence of the weaving 
class, and the consequent necessity of at all times 
furnishing them with the materials of their work, or 
the means of purchasing them, involved consider- 
able advances of capital and a large amount of 
superintendence, compelling the employment of seve- 
ral distinct sets of agents (banyans, gomashtahs 
dallals, and pycars), who made their profit at the 
expense both of the company and the weaver ; the 
latter, as the weaker party, being naturally the most 
open to oppression. When the piece of calico or 
muslin was finished, the gomashtah, or broker, holds 
a " kattah," — examined the work, fixed its price, and 
paid the workman, who, it is said, was often obliged 
to accept fifteen or twenty, and often thirty or forty 
per cent, less than the result of his labour would 
have fetched in the market. — (Mill, iii., 15.) 

X Another individual of the same family figures 
in the history of East Indian affairs : first, as " Pitt 
the interloper", then as "president and consul Pitt" in 
the service of the new or English association ; and 
lastly, as one of the highest officials in the employ 
of the united company, in which position he died in 
1703, leaving behind him heavy personal debts and 
a very questionable reputation as regarded his public 
dealings. The only doubtful point which I have 
met with regarding the character of his cousin, Mr. 
Thomas Pitt, relates to the manner in which the 
famous diamond, bearing his name, came into his 
possession. Captain Hamilton avers, that the gem 
was procured through the intervention of a person 
named Glover, who, seeing it at Arcot, prevailed 
upon the proprietor to offer it for sale to the English 
at Fort St. George, and he placed in his hands 


tion had been evinced in the late season of 
disaster and embarrassment. When the coa- 
lition of their employers in England rendered 
it of the first consequence that their repre- 
sentatives in India should lay aside their 
contentions, and, if possible, subdue the 
ill-feeling raised by systematic hostility, Mr. 
Pitt set a good example, by addressing a 
communication to the English company, in 
which he applied to himself " the great 
saying of King William of blessed memory, 
to tbe French king's plenipotentiary at 
Ryswick, on concluding the peace, — 'twas my 
fate, and not my choice, that made me your 
enemy ; and since you and my masters are 
united, it shall be my utmost endeavour to 
purchase your good opinion, and deserve 
your friendship.'"'* 

The treaty of Utrecht happily terminated 
the long war with France, and England 
enjoyed a season of commercial prosperity, 
of which the rapid growth of Liverpool, 
Manchester, and Birmingham afford re- 
markable evidence. t The company like- 
wise prospered, and their imports rose in 
value from £493,257 in 1708, to £1,059,759 
in 1730. The export branch of their trade 
was far from exhibiting so favourable a 
result;^ but the rate of profit steadily 
increased up to 1723; the dividends aug- 
menting from five per cent, per annum to 
the proprietors, upon £3,163,200 of capital, 
until they reached ten per cent. ; they then 
declined to eight per cent., at which annual 
rate they continued until 1732, when they 
were reduced to seven per cent., and re- 
mained there until 1744, in which year 
they returned to eight per cent. The in- 

3,000 pagodas of his own as a guarantee that no 
compulsion should be used to oblige him to sell 
unless he were so inclined. The pledge was broken 
by Mr. Pitt, and the money forfeited by Glover. — 
{New Account of East Indies, L, 366.) The tale is 
not very clearly told ; the seller, if a native, was pro- 
bably not the legitimate possessor of the diamond, 
because all stones, above a certain weight, found in 
the mines, were claimed by the emperor. This, 
however, is no excuse for the conduct of Mr. Pitt, if 
Hamilton's accusation be correct. The traffic in 
jewels was, it should be stated, considered of much 
importance, and had been alternately monopolised 
by the company, and conceded to their servants as an 
especial privilege. 

* Annals of E. I. Cy., year 1702-'3. 

f Liverpool, which was not formed into a separate 
parish till 1699, increased so rapidly, that in 1715, a 
new parish with a church was erected ; and its 
extent was doubled between 1690 and 1726. Man- 
chester grew with equal rapidity, and was computed, 
in 1727, to contain no less than 50,000 inhabitants; 
and at the same period, the metal manufactories of 
Birmingham, which thirty years before was little 

terval between 1708 and 1745 is marked by 
but few important events. In England the 
company were employed at various times in 
procuring decrees against interlopers,^ and 
obtaining extensions of their exclusive pri- 
vileges. The opposition of the free trade 
party was very violent in 1730; and the 
East India association obtained a renewal of 
their charter only on condition of the pay- 
ment of a premium of £200,000, and the 
reduction of the interest of their capital lent 
to government from five to four per cent. 
The term now fixed was to terminate upon 
three years' notice from March, 1766. 

In India the servants of the company 
watched with alarm the successive contests 
for the throne, which took place between 
the death of Aurungzebe and the accession 
of his great-grandson, Feroksheer, in 1713. 
Moorshed Kooli Khan (sometimes called 
Jaffier Khan), who had previously filled the 
office of dewan, or comptroller of the revenues 
in Bengal, was appointed subahdar, or viceroy 
of that province, and subsequently obtained 
a grant of Bahar and Orissa. The English 
found his rule arbitrary and extortionate ; 
and, in the hope of obtaining from the em- 
peror a decree for especial protection and con- 
cessions, persuaded the directors at home to 
allow them to send an embassy to the Mogul 
court. Two factors, selected for their intel- 
ligence, were dispatched from Calcutta to 
Delhi, with an Armenian merchant for their 
interpreter ; and the report of the costly pre- 
sents of which they were the bearers having 
preceded them, the governors of the pro- 
vinces through which their road lay were 
ordered to show them every respect. || They 

more than a village, are represented as giving main- 
tenance to upwards of 30,000 individuals. — (Ander- 
son's Origin of Commerce, iii., 143-4.) To London 
several new parishes had been added in a short 
period. And from the year 1708 to 1730, the im- 
ports of Great Britain, according to the valuation 
of the custom-house, had risen from £4,698,663 to 
£7,780,019; and the exports from £6,969,089, to 
£11,974,135.— (Sir Charles Whitworth's Tables, part 
L, p. 78.— Mill, iii., 25.) 

| The exportation of 1708 was exceedingly small 
compared with years immediately following: that of 
1709, was £168,357; that of 1730, only £135,484. 

§ In 1718, the company were authorised, by act 
of parliament, to seize all British subjects found 
trading within their limits, under the commission of 
a foreign government, and to send them to England, 
subject to a penalty of £500 for each offence. 

|| They seem to have especially dreaded passing 
through the country of the Jats, near Agra : in 
communicating their progress to the authorities at 
Calcutta, the deputation relate having accomplished 
this part of their journey, — " not meeting with much 
trouble, except that once in the night, rogues came 


reached the capital after journeying three 
months : but the influence of Moorshed Kooli 
Khan, through his party, in the divided coun- 
sels of the state, prevailed; and, notwith- 
standing their offerings of gold coin, a table- 
clock set with precious stones, a unicorn's 
horn, a gold escrutoire, a map of the world, j 
japan, lacquered, earthen and cutlery ware, 
with looking-glasses and red and yellow 
broad cloth in abundance, the negotiation 
languished;* and Feroksheer, engaged in pre- 
paring for his nuptials with the daughter of 
the Marwar rajah, Ajeet Sing, would pro- 
bably have paid no attention to their solici- 
tations, had not the medical skill of one of 
the party (a surgeon in the company's ser- 
vice) been offered at an opportune moment 
for the cure of a malady from which he had 
been long suffering. 

Under the treatment of Mr. Hamilton 
the emperor recovered; and the marriage, 
which had been delayed on account of his 
illness, was forthwith consummated. Ferok- 
sheer, of whom it has been said that " his 
only quality was an ill-placed liberality," f 
presented his physician with a magnificent 
khillut {see p. 168), 5,000 rupees in coin, 
and models of all his surgical instruments 

on our camp, but being repulsed three times, they 
left us." — (Auber's Rise arid Progress of British 
Power in India, i., 16.) 

* The value of the presents was about £30,000, 
but Khojeh Serhaud, the Armenian employed, had 
given out their value at more than three times that 
amount — a deception which could not fail to produce 

f Scott's History of the Deccan, ii., 135. 

j The case of Broughton has been related. Ac- 
cording to Orme, the medical skill engaged in the 
service of the company was likewise instrumental in 
gaining favour with Aurungzebe, about the time of 
the first occupation of Calcutta — an English physician 
being serviceable in administering relief to the em- 
peror, when " sorely tormented with carbuncles," 
which his own medical attendants could not cure. — 
{Historical Fragments of Mogul Empire, p. 284.) 

§ The company lost no opportunity of strengthen- 
ing and enforcing their authority over their country- 
men in India. Independent traders, licensed or 
unlicensed, were alike on sufferance; and in ad- 
dressing their presidencies, the directors expressly 
desire that care should be taken to let even the 
uncovenanted merchants know " that by the laws, no 
subject of his majesty can stay in India without our 
leave ; and therefore, as they are there only during 
good behaviour, so you will let them continue no 
longer than they deserve it."- — Letter to Bengal, 1722. 

'| According to European and Hindoo writers, the 
sway of Moorshed Kooli Khan was marked by a 
degree of barbarous and fiend-like cruelty, which 
certainly formed no part of the character of Aurung- 
zebe, who, though he never scrupled to make away 
with the life of a human being if it suited his policy, 
was nevertheless, as a ruler, decidedly opposed to 

in pure gold ; at the same time assuring him 
that any favour he might solicit should be 
granted. Again, the disinterestedness of a 
medical officer of the company proved equal 
to his skill, J and Hamilton requested the 
emperor to concede to the embassy the 
important privileges they had come to ask ; 
namely : — 1st. " That a f dustuck/ or pass- 
port, signed by the president of Calcutta, 
should exempt the goods it specified from 
being stopped or examined by the Mogul 
government, under any pretence : 2ndly. 
That the officers of the mint at Moorshe- 
dabad should at all times, when required, 
allow three days in the week for the coinage 
of the East India Company's money : 3rdly. 
That all persons, whether Europeans or 
natives,^ who might be indebted or account- 
able to the company, should be delivered up 
to the presidency at Calcutta on the first 
demand : 4thly. That the English might 
purchase the lordship of thirty-eight towns, 
with the same immunities as Prince Azim 
Ooshan had permitted them to buy with 
Calcutta, Chuttanuttee, and Govindpoor." 

The petition was granted, notwithstanding 
the representations of the friends of Moor- 
shed Kooli Khan, the viceroy of Bengal, || who 

capital punishment or the infliction of tortures. The 
viceroy of Bengal, on the contrary, seems to have 
used by preference such means of enforcing his 
authority as were best calculated to strike terror into 
the minds of all beneath his sway. He never placed 
confidence in any man, but examined the state of his 
exchequer daily. Any zemindar found remiss in 
payment, was put under arrest, guards were placed 
to prevent his eating and drinking till the deficiency 
was supplied, and spies watched over the guards to 
inform if they were bribed, or negligent in their 
duty. When a district was in arrear, the delinquent 
zemindar was tormented by every species of cruelty, 
such as hanging up by the feet, bastinadoing, ex- 
posure to the sun in summer, and in winter frequent 
sprinklings of the bare flesh with cold water. The 
deputy dewan of the province, Seyed Rezah Khan, 
whohadmarried the grand-daughter of the Nabob, "in 
order to enforce payment of the revenues, ordered a 
pond to be dug, which was filled with everything 
disgusting, and the stench of which was so offensive, 
as nearly to suffocate whoever approached it" — to 
this place the dewan, in derision of the Hindoos, 
gave the designation of Bichoont (a term which 
signifies their Paradise)—" and after the zemindars 
had undergone the usual punishments, if their rent 
was not forthcoming, he caused them to be drawn by 
a rope tied under the arms through this infernal 
pond. By such cruel and horrid methods, he ex- 
torted from the unhappy zemindars everything they 
possessed, and made them weary of their lives." 
Wherever a robbery was committed, the foujedar 
was compelled to find out the thief, or to recover the 
property ; and the robber, when caught, was impaled 
alive, or the body split in two, and hung upon trees 
on the high road. The Mussulman writers speak of 


seems to have been constantly on the watch 
to repress every indication of increasing 
power on the part of either Europeans or 
Hindoos. This lesson he had doubtless 
learned from his early patron, Aurungzebe ; 
and in practising it, together with other 
maxims derived from the same school, he 
earned the cordial detestation of the classes 
whose views he steadily opposed, and the 
unbounded admiration of Moguls and Mus- 
sulmans as the champion of their political 
supremacy and religious creed. The firmaun 
(comprising thirty-four patents),* issued at 
the intercession of Hamilton, f was impera- 
tive, but the viceroy contrived to impede the 
operation of its most important clauses. The 
thirty-eight villages which the company had 
obtained leave to purchase, would have given 
them a district extending ten miles from 
Calcutta on each side of the river Hooghly, 
where a number of weavers, subject to their 
own jurisdiction, might have been established. 
This arrangement Moorshed Kooli Khan 
circumvented by using his influence to deter 
the holders of the land from consenting to 
its sale. The privilege of granting dustucks 
or passports, was at first exercised by the 
president of Calcutta unchallenged, but the 
extension of immunity from duties from the 
goods of the company to those of their ser- 
vants, soon had the effect of exempting not 
only articles of foreign commerce, but also the 
produce of the province itself, in its passage 
by land from one district to another. This 
the viceroy declared it his determination to 
prevent, as a practice equally destructive to 
his revenue and ruinous to the native traders, 
on whom heavy duties were imposed ; and 
he commanded that the English dustucks 

Moorshed Kooli Khan as severe in the extreme, but 
equally impartial, showing favour to no one, and 
always rewarding merit wherever he found it. His 
jurisdiction certainly afforded room for praise as well 
as censure, were it only for his earnest efforts to ward 
off the terrible calamity of famine, and prevent the 
monopoly of grain. In private life, he was learned, 
temperate, and self-denying; refrained wholly from 
spirituous liquors and intoxicating drugs ; despised 
all the refinements of luxury, whether in dress or 
food ; always kept constant to one lawful wife, and 
would not suffer any strange women or eunuchs to 
enter the apartments of his seraglio. Every year he 
sent Korans of his own writing to Mecca, Medina, 
and other holy places; and during the period of 
twelve days, which include the anniversaries of the 
birth and death of Mohammed, he feasted people of 
all conditions, and caused a road three miles in 
length to be illuminated with lamps, representing 
verses of the Koran, mosques, trees, and other 
figures. He also kept, with great state, another 
favourite Moslem festival, in which the chief feature 
is the setting afloat of boats made of bamboo and 

should be respected solely in the case of 
goods imported by sea, or purchased for ex- 
portation. The company remonstrated, but 
in vain ; and their servants, checked in their 
endeavours to grasp the inland trade, directed 
their ardour to the maritime branch ; and 
their superior skill soon induced the mer- 
chants of the province, Moors, Armenians, 
and Hindoos, to freight most of their exports 
in English vessels. Within ten years from 
the period of the embassy, the shipping of 
the port of Calcutta increased to 10,000 tons. 

The non-acquirement of the thirty-eight 
villages apparently occasioned no great dis- 
appointment to the company, who had 
already adopted the wary and reluctant 
tone they ever afterwards maintained regard- 
ing the increase of their territory. When 
aware of the sanction obtained by their 
representatives, they bade them purchase 
only so much of the lands in question as 
were immediately contiguous to Calcutta, 
remarking, that "when Jaffier Khan [Moor- 
shed Kooli Khan] or any other governor, 
finds you desire only half of what you might 
insist on, he or they may be the easier to 
give their consent, and not pick future quar- 
rels; for as our business is trade, it is not 
political for us to be encumbered with much 
territory." In a subsequent paragraph, the 
directors speak of the benefit derivable from 
the possession of a good dock ; and add, " if 
ever we should be forced to the necessity of 
it, our settlement there would enable us to 
command the river; but this is not to be so 
much as publicly hinted at, lest it alarm the 
government." Again, in the same month 
(Feb., 1 721) , they write to Bengal, "remember 
we are not fond of much territory, especially 

paper, ornamented with flags, lamps, &c, as a re- 
ligious offering. — (Stewart's Bengal, pp.378 — 411; 
and Sketches of Bengal — anonymous.) As a climax 
to his oppressions in the eyes of the Hindoos, and 
laudable zeal in those of his fellow-believers, the 
viceroy, in his old age, caused all the Brahminical 
temples in Moorshedabad to be pulled down to 
furnish materials for his tomb. 

* Other privileges of iess importance than those 
cited in the previous page, were comprised in these 
patents, which long constituted the great charter of 
the English in India. Among them was a de- 
cree that the annual payment of a fixed sum to the 
government of Surat should free the English trade at 
that port from all duties and exactions ; that three 
villages contiguous to Madras, formerly granted and 
afterwards resumed by the government of Arcot, 
should be restored to the company ; and the island of 
Diu, or Divi, near Masulipatam, conceded to them on 
payment of a fixed rent. — (Grant's Sketch, p. 128.) 

f Mr. Hamilton died in Calcutta, in 1717. His 
tombstone was discovered about sixty years after, in 
digging for the foundations of a new church. 

PROCEEDINGS OF THE OSTEND E. I. Cy.— 1716 to 1726. 


if it lies at a distance from you, or is not near 
the water-side; nor, indeed, of any, unless you 
have a moral assurance it will contribute 
directly or in consequence to our benefit.' * 
In Indian affairs, as in the ordinary 
course of all collective or individual enter- 
prise, successes and reverses - ]- came at the 
same period from different but equally 
unexpected quarters. About the date of 
the successful embassy, a new and powerful 
rival appeared on the stage. In the year 
1716, the governor of the French settle- 
ment at Pondicherry, announced to the 
British at Eort St. David, that there were 
off the Malabar coast two 40-gun vessels 
under the imperial colours. These ships 
belonged to the Ostend East India Com- 
pany, who were just commencing their 
operations, but did not gain a regular char- 
ter from their sovereign, the Emperor of 
Austria, till four years afterwards. Dutch, 
French, and English, immediately made 
common cause against the intruders, who 
had now to combat the opposition every 
nation had encountered from its predeces- 
sors in the field of Indian commerce since 
the Portuguese first interrupted the navi- 
gation of the Arabs and Moors. In the 
present case it was argued, that the con- 
cession of a charter by the emperor to the 
Ostend company, was a breach of faith to- 
wards the English and Dutch, inasmuch as 
it was by their united prowess that the ten 
provinces of the Netherlands, which re- 
mained in allegiance to Spain during the 
war of independence, were transferred from 
that kingdom to the crown of Austria. The 
Dutch insisted upon the continuance of the 
restriction forcibly imposed by them on the 
trade of these provinces while they consti- 
tuted a portion of the Spanish dominions; 
and asserted that this prohibition was im- 
plied in the very terms of the barrier-treaty 
from which the emperor derived his autho- 
rity. They seconded their arguments by 
active hostile measures : seized the vessels 
of the Ostend company, with their cargoes ; 
and forbade the subjects of the states from 

* Auber's Rise and Progress, vol. i., 25. 

+ During the first half of the 18th century the 
English East India trade experienced some severe 
checks in China and the eastern islands. It seemed 
as if, nolens-volens, they were to be driven to ex- 
pend all their energies on the Indian peninsula. 
Their factors were compelled, with great loss of 
goods and stores, to quit Chusan, where they had 
commenced a settlement, and a worse result attended 
their endeavours to establish themselves on Pulo 
Condore, an island subject to the Cochin Chinese, 
and at Banjar Massin, in Borneo. The British at 

all concern in the undertaking on the se- 
verest penalties, — even, it is said, on pain of 
death. France and England adopted the 
same selfish policy, though they did not 
carry it out with equal asperity. Louis XV. 
published a declaration denouncing various 
forfeitures, and in some cases, imprisonment 
and exile on any of his people who should 
enter into the service of the Ostend associa- 
tion, or hold shares in their stock. Similar 
punishments were held forth by George L 
and his parliament, to deter British subjects 
from taking part in the new adventure ; and 
one instance, at least, occurred of an Ostend 
ship, homeward-bound and richly freighted, 
being captured by a British privateer. All 
this persecution did not deter the Nether- 
landers from their object : it was to them as 
a breathing time from oppression ; and they 
struggled with determination, and in a com- 
mercial point of view, with success, against 
their foes. Their charter was granted in 
1723; in less than twenty-four hours their 
subscription-books were filled up; and within 
a month the shares were sold at a premium 
of fifteen per cent. At a meeting of pro- 
prietors in 1726, the remaining instalment 
on the subscriptions, equal to a dividend of 
thirty-three and one-third per cent.^ was 
paid up from the gains of the trade. Thus 
far, the emperor had persevered in uphold- 
ing the company, and in granting them 
commissions of reprisal, in which course 
he had been confirmed by an article in the 
treaty of Vienna in 1725, by which Spain 
guaranteed the continuance of the associa- 
tion. But this alliance was of brief dura- 
tion, and only served to rouse the jealousy 
of, other European powers. It was followed 
by a combination which resulted in the 
treaty of Hanover, between France, Eng- 
land, Holland, and Denmark, by which 
among other provisions, the contracting par- 
ties mutually guaranteed their respective 
commercial claims to the exclusion of the 
Ostend company. J The emperor, deserted 
by his only ally the King of Spain, could 
not oppose this formidable confederacy with- 

Pulo Condore were barbarously massacred by the 
soldiery, in 1705, and nearly two years afterwards the 
same fate overtook those at Banjar Massin, only a 
few escaping with life. In Sumatra (at Bencoolen), a 
severe and prolonged struggle took place: the natives 
compelled the British to evacuate Fort Marlborough, 
in 1718; but fearing to fall into the hands of the 
Dutch,. suffered the English to return and resettle 
their factories, in 1721. — (Grant's Sketch.) 

X The Ostend company, though not expressly 
named, are plainly alluded to in this treaty, to which 
Prussia and Sweden were likewise parties. 



out endangering the object he had most at 
heart — namely, to secure the transmission 
of his crown to his daughter and only child, 
Maria Theresa; and he was reluctantly com- 
pelled to sign a treaty, in 1727, by which 
the Ostend company was suspended for 
seven years; and before the expiration of 
that term, he, by the treaty of Seville, 
pledged himself to its complete dissolution. 

The whole of these transactions, while 
affording strong evidence of the value at- 
tached to the Asiatic trade, certainly ex- 
hibit the exclusive companies of the most 
powerful European states of the period in 
a very unpleasing light, as concurring, 
in the open face of day, to crush the at- 
tempt of a persecuted people to regain their 
lost prosperity, and draw from the deep 
fountain of foreign commerce their portion 
of the invigorating streams by which other 
countries had been long fertilised.* 

At this time the commerce of Sweden had 
recovered from the depression caused by the 
wars of Charles XII. Brilliant victories 
cannot neutralise the disastrous and exhaust- 
ing effect of war on the energies of a people ; 
and many Swedish citizens forsook their 
native land for countries in which they could 
hope to sow the seed and reap the harvest 
of their labours unmolested. The restora- 
tion of tranquillity gave the signal for the 
return of those wanderers, who brought with 
them in some cases comparative wealth, and 
for the most part a spirit of enterprise yet 
more beneficial to the state. 

An opulent merchantof Stockholm, named 

* The ten provinces, it will be remembered, which 
remained under the possession of Spain, were be- 
stowed by Philip on his daughter and her husband, 
the Archduke of Austria, with a stipulation in the 
deed of conveyance prohibiting their subjects from 
sailing to America or the East Indies. Vainly the 
Netherlanders presented petition after petition to the 
court of Madrid : they could obtain no redress. The 
wealth and industry of the country took refuge in 
Protestant lands, — in the congenial atmosphere of civil 
and religious freedom. Cities, once the hives of indus- 
try, were deserted; and even Antwerp, lately the 
commercial capital and emporium of Europe, was 
reducedalmost toa solitude; — its harbour abandoned 
by shipping — its exchange by merchants. Upon the 
death of Isabella, in 1658, the sovereignty reverted 
to Spain; and the king was persuaded to grant to the 
Netherlands the liberty of trading to those parts of 
the Indies settled by Portugal, then under his sway. 
The revolt of the Portuguese in 1640 was attended 
with the resumption of such of their Indian posses- 
sions as had not fallen into the power of the Dutch; 
and the hopes of the Netherlanders were again dis- 
appointed. In 1698, Carlos II., the last of the Aus- 
trian kings of Spain, granted them permission to trade 
with such parts of India and the coast of Guinea as 

Koning, observed the temper of his country- 
men, and connecting with it the number of 
men possessed of capital and of commercial 
and nautical knowledge turned adrift by the 
destruction of the Ostend company, con- 
sidered that a favourable opportunity had 
arrived for the establishment of an East 
India trade in Sweden. A company was 
formed, and a royal charter granted in 1731, 
empowering them to trade to all countries 
between the Cape of Good Hope and Japan, 
provided they refrained from entering havens 
occupied by any European power without 
permission. Gottenberg was to be the sole 
port of outfit and arrival, and for the dis- 
posal of the imports, which might be done 
only by public sale. In all points regarding 
duties the regulations were extremely liberal. 
The direction was to be entrusted to native 
or naturalised subjects of Sweden, and to 
Protestants only. The Dutch opposed the 
new association at the onset ; and the chief 
of their two first vessels, f the Frederick, was 
seized in the Straits of Sunda, and carried 
into Batavia ; but the representations of the 
Swedish minister procured its liberation, 
and both the States-General and the company 
disavowed having given any order for its 
interception. The poverty and low com- 
mercial reputation of Sweden, probably yet 
more than the total absence of any pretext 
for questioning her right of intercourse with 
other independent kingdoms, prevented any 
systematic opposition being set up by the 
leading European powers to this new candi- 
date for eastern trade. The Swedes, from 

were not preoccupied by Europeans ; but before they 
could take advantage of this charter, the death of 
their royal patron occurred, A.D. 1700, and was fol- 
lowed by the long and sanguinary war of succession 
which convulsed Europe for thirteen years. Atthe con- 
clusion of peace they fell under the dominion of the 
house of Austria; and the emperor, desirous of encou- 
raging the commerce of his new subjects, but fearful 
of provoking the enmity of the maritime powers (as 
England and Holland were then termed), he at first, 
as has been shown, could only be prevailed on to 
sanction separate voyages, the success of which in- 
cited the formation of a temporary association, which 
was soon followed by that of the chartered company, 
whose efforts were brought to an untimely ter- 
mination in 1727. Among the accusations made 
against the Ostend company was that of being most 
determined smugglers, especially of tea, which they 
imported largely into Great Britain. However, as 
one wrong, though it cannot justify, is usually held 
to palliate another (at least in the sight of human 
tribunals), the Ostenders might well plead that ex- 
cuse for their adoption of the sole means of retali- 
ation in their power. 

t The Frederick and Ulrica ; named after the king 
and queen of Sweden. 

EVENTS IN INDIA — 1725 to 1739. 


the beginning, traded almost entirely with 
China,* and tea formed at least four-fifths 
of their exports, of which a very small part 
was consumed in Sweden, the remainder 
being sold for ready-money to foreigners, 
chiefly for the purpose of being smuggled 
into Great Britain — a practice which the 
heavy duties levied upon this article greatly 

To return to the business of the three 
presidencies. The death of the aged vice- 
roy of Bengal, in 1725, seems to have occa- 
sioned fear and regret, and the English, after 
so long complaining of his cruelty and ex- 
tortion, now openly lamented his loss. The 
truth was, that Moorshed Kooli Khan, in 
common with the Nizam Asuf Jab, and other 
statesmen of Aurungzebe's stamp, had im- 
bibed from their imperial master habits of 
unflagging and methodical application to 
the whole duties of their position, whether 
civil or military, which raised them in a 
remarkable manner above the sensual and 
sluggish condition into which the Moguls 
bad sunk under the enfeebling influence of 
an eastern climate and unchecked luxury. f 
Moreover, the English had other reasons for 
viewing any change of this kind with anxiety; 
for the weakness of the present representa- 
tive of the house of Timur, rendered it doubt- 
ful whether the succession to the viceroy - 
alty might not prove a question to be 
decided by force of arms. This fear was re- 
moved by the uncontested appointment of 
Shuja Khan, the son-in-law of the deceased ; 
but upon his death, in 1739, a struggle 
ensued between his son, Serferaz Khan, and 
his ungrateful but able dependent, the 
famous Ali Verdi Khan, who, after slaying 
the heir of his patron in battle, usurped the 
government, in which he contrived to estab- 
lish himself. The piracies of the sons of 
Kanhojee Angria,J a Malabar chieftain, 
about this period, sensibly affected the ad- 
vancement of the English trade, and injured 
yet more deeply the failing strength of the 
| Portuguese. The invasion of Nadir Shah, 
i in 1739, was a shock which was felt through 
the length and breadth of the Indian conti- 
nent : it announced in language not to be 
misunderstood the downfall of a once mighty 

* The supercargo of the Frederick, a Mr. Colin 
Campbell, was invested with the character of ambas- 
sador to the emperor of China, and some other eastern 
princes. — (Macpherson's Commerce, p. 308.) 

t The directors of the E. I. Cy. continued extremely 
desirous to prevent their servants from acquiring 
habits of indulgence which might impair their useful- 
ness ; and in 1731 they addressed a serious remon- 

empire, and was as the tocsin of war in the 
ears of the governors of the various pro- 
vinces, who, though still maintaining a 
semblance of respect to their nominal master, 
were really anxious only about one another's 
intrigues, and the increasing power of the 
Mahrattas. The incursions of this nation 
into Bengal, and their demand of chout, or 
a fourth of the total revenues, was resolutely 
opposed by Ali Verdi Khan ; and, while 
strengthening his own defences, he granted 
permission to the English at Calcutta to 
form a trench round the city to the extent 
of seven miles (the company's bounds), still 
known as the Ma,hratta ditch. 

Meanwhile events were occurring in Eu- 
rope destined to produce very important 
consequences in India. On the death of the 
emperor, Charles VI., in the year 1740, a 
violent war, kindled by competition for the 
imperial dignity, and for a share in the spoils 
of Austria, commenced in Germany. In 
this contest France and England (the latter 
through her Hanoverian connexions) had 
both engaged, and, in the end, had become 
nearly, or rather altogether, principals. In 
1744, the two governments exchanged decla- 
rations of war, and before long their most 
distant settlements experienced the devastat- 
ing consequences of international strife. 

No material changes had taken place in 
the position of the European settlements 
since the commencement of the century. A 
single deviation from the exclusive policy 
pursued by the sovereigns of Portugal oc- 
curred in 1731, when the king granted per- 
mission for a single ship to make a single 
voyage to Surat and the coast of Coromandel, 
and back to Portugal. A company was 
formed for the purpose, but the experiment 
being attended with little success, was not 

The Dutch continued to exercise a pro- 
fitable, though (as far as India was con- 
cerned) a diminishing trade. The war with 
the zamorin commenced in 1701, — was ter- 
minated by a treaty of peace in 1710; but 
again renewed in 1715, when the zamorin 
surprised the fort of Chittua, which had been 
constructed in order to keep him in check. 
This event was followed by the invasion of 

strance to their Bengal agents, in the style of one 
already quoted, on their extravagant way of living, 
desiring them especially to eschew the " foppery of 
having a set of music at table, and a coach-and-six, 
with guards and running footmen, as we are informed 
is now practised, not only by the president, but by 
some of inferior rank." 
% See page 168. 


his country by an army of fully 4,000 men 
(Europeans and natives) ; and, in 1717, a 
new treaty was concluded on terms, accord- 
ing to Stavorinus, by no means advantageous 
to the Dutch, "in comparison with what 
might and ought to have been insisted on."* 
The same authority states, that during the 
continuance of hostilities "the English, or 
rather their commandant at Tellicherry, had 
assisted the zamorin with money, ammuni- 
tion, and gunners." The evidence on which 
this assertion is made does not appear. 
Without any such auxiliary, the neighbour- 
ing rajahs were probably quite strong enough 
to compete with the Dutch, whose military 
proceedings increased in cost as they de- 
creased in efficiency. The " supreme gov- 
ernment," as it was termed, at Batavia, 
addressing the local authorities at Malabar, 
in 1721, express astonishment at the re- 
newed spirit of hostility towards the native 
powers manifested by them, and also at 
their extravagant expenditure. They added, 
that "in case the zamorin thought fit to 
attack the rajah of Cochin, who had so long 
enjoyed the protection of the company, they 
should not take an active part in the quar- 
rel." This direction was nothing less than 
the ungrateful abandonment of a dynasty 
which, from the time of the hostilities pro- 
voked by the aggressions of the Portuguese 
under Alvarez Cabral, in 1501, had sided 
with the Europeans. The Cochin rajahs 
had, it would seem, been little more than 
tools in the hands of the Dutch, who now so 
ungenerously abandoned them to their 
incensed countrymen. The impolicy of this 
proceeding, in a worldly sense, equalled its 
injustice as a question of principle. The 

* Stavorinus' Voyages, vol. iii., p. 239. 

•(• Other officials in the service of the Dutch E. I. 
Cy. appear to have possessed and acted upon prin- 
ciples of the same character displayed by M. Van 
Imhoff. A terrible catastrophe occurred in Batavia, 
in 1740. The identical accusation brought forward 
against the English at Amboyna, was here urged 
against the Chinese inhabitants, who, it was alleged, 
had conspired to extirpate the Dutch, and were able 
to muster 90,000 men. On this pretext a pitiless 
massacre of the Chinese commenced, and the quarter 
of the town occupied by them was burnt to ashes, 
being set on fire, as was said, by themselves in de- 
spair. The number of the Chinese slaughtered on 
this occasion is estimated at from 12,000 to 30,000; 
and the amount of plunder taken from them was 
enormous. No clear account of the origin of the 
business ever appeared, to refute the statement of the 
suffering party, — that the conspiracy had been on the 
side of the Dutch, who were heavily indebted to the 
persons they accused. The governor himself shipped 
property for Holland to an amount stated at half a 

zamorin and the rajah of Travancore ex- 
tended their dominions by the diminution 
of those of the chiefs dependent on the 
Dutch; until the Travancore prince, in 
1739, by his repeated successes acquired a 
reputation which rendered him respected 
and feared throughout the Malabar coast. 
His attachment to the English was another 
argument against him with the Dutch offi- 
cials ; and one of them, Van Imhoff, who 
came over from Ceylon, in 1739, to examine 
into the state of affairs, represented that a 
total reformation was absolutely necessary, 
and could be effected only in two ways. 
The first was, to follow the market price for 
pepper; the second, to enforce the con- 
tracts into which the natives were said to 
have entered, of traffic with the Dutch only, 
by forcibly exacting penalties in case of 
their non-performance, "or by surprising 
and carrying off to Batavia one or other of 
those princes, who showed themselves the 
most refractory, which would create so much 
terror among them, that it would not be 
necessary to resort to the same expedient a 
second time." This latter method M. Van 
Imhoff concluded would be the best; nor 
does it appear that any exception was taken 
at the cruelty and injustice of the plan thus 
suggested.f Happily for the Malabar rajahs, 
and possibly still more happily for the 
Dutch, no opportunity occurred for carrying 
it into execution, and the Malabar officials 
were compelled to adopt a more open mode 
of warfare, which they did without even ask- 
ing orders from Batavia on the subject, 
though they were soon obliged to send there 
for assistance, against the consequences of 
an unprovoked attack made by them on the 

million sterling. No public trial took place ; but the 
reason is evident from the fact, that two members of 
the council, and the fiscal, were deprived of their 
offices and put in prison, together with the gover- 
nor, who remained there till the day of his death. 
Although most anxious to hush up the matter, it was 
deemed necessary to send an embassy to the Em- 
peror of China, and explain away, as far as possible, 
or at least palliate the fearful crimes committed, by 
representing it as an act of justice, much fear being 
excited that, on the persons of the Dutch at Canton, 
the emperor might find vent for the wrathful feelings 
likely to be roused by the slaughter of his people. 
The answer proved the needlessness of such anxiety ; 
the ambassador being informed that this paternal 
sovereign " took no concern in the fate of unworthy 
subjects, who had abandoned their native country, and 
the tombs of their ancestors, to live under the domi- 
nion of foreigners for the greed of gain ;" a very 
impolitic as well as unfeeling sentiment to proceed 
from the mouth of the ruler of so densely populous 
an empire. — (Macpherson's Commerce.) 




rajah of Travancore. The Dutch company 
could ill bear this addition to the burthen 
already imposed by the war in Macassar, — a 
locality which, as it had been the arena of 
some of their most cruel aggressions, in 
devastating the land, and carrying off the 
inhabitants in large numbers as slaves, so it 
became the scene of many of their greatest 
calamities and embarrassments.* 

The Danish East India Company had 
endeavoured to take advantage of the sup- 
pression of the Ostend society ; and their 
king, Frederick IV., lent a willing ear to argu- 
ments similar to those which had been suc- 
cessfully urged by Koning upon the Swedish 
monarch, regarding the advantage of enlist- 
ing in the service of Denmark the capital 
and ability of the Netherland merchants, 
prohibited from trading under their own 
flag. A charter was granted, in 1728, au- 
thorising the opening of an additional sub- 
scription-list for new members, and an India 
House was established at Alton Danish 
town adjacent to Hamburgh. The English 
and Dutch companies remonstrated warmly 
against this measure, as little less than the 
reproduction of the Ostend association under 
a fresh name. Their jealous opposition suc- 
ceeded in procuring the abandonment of 
the Hamburgh establishment ; but it raised, 
in the minds of the Danes, a strong feeling 
of the importance of the commerce so sharply 
watched by rival societies, and induced a 
large number of persons to take part in it. 

* Their general trade continued, notwithstanding 
these drawbacks, steadily lucrative. During the 
first twenty-one years of their existence — that is, 
from 1602 to 1622 — the company divided thirty 
million florins ; being more than quadruple the ori- 
ginal stock. From the year 1605 to 1728 the divi- 
dends amounted to about twenty-two per cent, per 
annum, sometimes paid in bank money, sometimes 
in cloves. Thus, on the original capital of £650,000, 
eighteen million sterling were paid as dividends, he- 
sides the necessary accumulation of property in terri- 
tory, forts, and ships. The price of the stock, between 
1723 and 1760, bore a premium varying from 320 
to 650 per cent. The annual fleet dispatched from 
Holland was very large. From the year 1720 to 
1729, inclusive, the number amounted to 372 ves- 
sels (giving an annual average of thirty-seven), with 
crews comprising nearly 70,000 men. The dividends, 
during the same period, averaged twenty-three per 
cent. Various renewals of their charter had been 
obtained, at different times, from the States-Gene- 
ral, notwithstanding considerable opposition on the 
part of the public, which was silenced, in the ears of 
government, by the payment of large sums of money 
on various occasions. In 1740, unusual difficulties 
appear to have been met with, and the company 
could only obtain a prolongation of their privileges 
for a single year ; nor was it until 1748 that they 
succeeded in procuring the desired grant, which was 

2 K 

A new and very favourable charter, granted 
to the company in 1732, for a term of forty 
years, contains among its clauses two which 
are interesting, even after the lapse of more 
than a century. One was a proviso, "that 
the strictest attention should be paid to the 
morals of the people seDt out to India in 
the company's service" — a point which had 
been heretofore sadly disregarded ; the 
other threw a shield round the individual 
interests of the proprietors, by enacting 
that " no money should be lent or bor- 
rowed without the consent of a general 
meeting of the proprietors." f The trade 
carried on after this period, though never 
very extensive, became decidedly prosperous, 
and continued so during the remainder of 
the eighteenth century. 

Fiiance had advanced far more perceptibly 
towards the close of the epoch now under 
consideration. In 1714, the E. I. Cy. again 
applied for and obtained a renewal of their 
charter. Exhausted funds, and a debt 
amounting to 10,000,000 livres, seemed to 
afford little prospect of remunerative trade 
during the ten years for which their exclu- 
sive privileges were continued ; but before 
the expiration of that period, their separate 
existence was merged in the extraordinary 
association formed by the famous schemer, 
John Law. J In the year 1720, England 
and France exhibited to the world at large 
the disgraceful spectacle of the governments 
of two great nations struggling to shake off 

then conceded for a term of twenty-seven years. — 
(Milburn, Macpherson, and Stavorinus.) 

t Macpherson's Commerce with India, p. 239. 

X This remarkable man (the son of an Edinburgh 
goldsmith), persuaded the Duke of Orleans, regent 
of France, in 1716, to adopt his plans of finance and 
commerce as a means of honourably relieving the 
government and nation from a debt of about 
£90,000,000 sterling, (mainly caused by the lavish 
expenditure of Louis XIV.,) in preference to the dis- 
graceful alternative actually propounded of disavow- 
ing the large quantity of depreciated paper-money, 
which had been issued from the Parisian treasury. 
The first step taken by Law was the formation 
of a public Bank, with a capital of six million 
livres, divided into 1,200 shares ; its business to 
be confined to receiving money on deposit, and 
lending it at a moderate rate of interest on per- 
sonal or proprietory security. The project became 
immediately popular; hoarded coin found its way 
to the coffers of the Bank, the notes of which 
became current throughout Europe : the West India 
Company furnished £3,937,500; and the increased 
circulating medium gave new energy to agricul- 
ture, commerce, and the arts. During the excitement 
which ensued, Law wielded unlimited power, and 
his personal health became a matter of intense 
anxiety and eager speculation. In 1617, he founded 
the Mississijipi company, with which was subse- 


the involvements caused by war and lavish 
expenditure, and to lessen their public debts 
by sanctioning schemes which, being mani- 
festly unjust in principle, could not fail to 
prove injurious to the multitudes who, un- 
accustomed, under any circumstances, to 
examine into the truth of plausible state- 
ments, would accept them without hesita- 
tion when made current by the approbation 
of the legislature, and thus cruelly misled, 
rush headlong into ruin. The conduct of 
the ministry and parliament of England, 
though deeply blamable in regard to the 
South Sea bubble, was far surpassed in dis- 
honesty and infatuation by the proceedings 
of the rulers of the French nation, in carry- 
ing out the complication of incongruous pro- 
jects called " Law's system." The " Royal 
Bank" constituted the leading and absorb- 
ing feature of the whole ; and of the nume- 
rous societies whom their own credulity or 
the manoeuvring of stock-jobbers had im- 
pelled within the vortex, the East India 
body alone appear to have survived the 
general wreck. 

This company arose strong in the " per- 
petual and irrevocable"* privileges in- 
herited from its defunct associates, and 
secured in its pecuniary welfare by the ar- 
bitrary measures enacted in 1721 for the 
diminution of its shares, which benefited 
the corporation by a method peculiar to 
despotic governments — of annihilating the 
property of their own subjects by a few 
strokes of the pen, without so much as a 

quently incorporated the Canada, China, Senegal, 
St. Domingo, Guinea, and East India associations. 
The united body became generally known as the 
Company of the W est — or sometimes of the Indies — ■ 
and had a capital stock of one hundred million 
livres, it being the scheme of Mr. Law to pay the 
holders of government paper with the stock (or shares) 
of this company. All the nations of Europe became 
infected with the mania of suddenty growing rich by 
the issue of paper-money, and capitalists flocked by 
thousands to Paris from every metropolis : the shares 
bore a premium of 1,200 per cent., and the govern- 
ment granted to the company various privileges, — such 
as the sole vending of tobacco, the mint, and general 
farming of all the revenues, in consideration of a loan 
to the king of fifty million sterling towards the 
liquidation of the public debt. Capital was nomi- 
nally added by several expedients : gold was forbid- 
den in trade ; and the coin successively diminished in 
value, until the people of France gladly brought 
their specie to the Bank, and converted their stock 
in the public funds into shares of the company, by 
which proceeding the national debt would, it was sup- 
posed, be paid off. The mania lasted about a twelve- 
month, and then the bubble burst, in spite of every 
endeavour to continue its inflation. A terrible panic 
ensued, and was followed by a long season of indi- 

pretence of compensation. At the same 
time, the nomination of directors was 
claimed for the Crown, and likewise the 
right of appointing one, two, or even three 
commissioners, with considerable controlling 
powers over the directors, with whom they 
were constantly at variance. Notwithstand- 
ing this great drawback, the company pur- 
sued their eastern trade with much energy. 
Their Indian debts — the accumulation of a 
long series of years — were paid off; and, on 
the appointment of the able and upright 
Orry as minister of finance, measures were 
adopted for the improvement and defence of 
the Indo-French settlements. Pondicherry, 
after its surrender by the Dutch, in 1697, 
had been restored to the superintendence of 
M. Martin. By his prudence and integrity 
the basis of its prosperity was laid in the 
confidence of the natives, who gladly settled 
under his protection ; and in course of time 
the village grew into a large and regular 
city, containing 70,000 inhabitants, of whom 
the European proportion continued, of 
course, extremely small. The French had 
also factories or comptoirs at Mahe, not 
far south from Tellicherry, on the Mala- 
bar coast; and at Chandernagore, on the 
Hooghly, in Bengal. Dumas, the governor- 
general appointed by Orry, increased the 
revenues of the company by obtaining per- 
mission from the Mogul, in 1734, to coin 
money in the fort of Pondicherry ; and the 
rupees struck there yielded a profit of nearly 
£20,000 per annum for several years. In 

vidual misery and general depression. Multitudes 
of all classes awoke from their dream of wealth to 
the realities of want, and the government reeled 
under the shock which attended the downfall of its 
splendid projects for re-establishing the public credit. 
The " Sieur Law," comptroller-general of the finances 
and inspector-general of the Royal Bank, and all 
its associate societies, disappeared from France, 
and died in obscurity, without having acquired any 
thing very considerable for himself, although he had 
it once in his power (so far as human judgment can 
decide) to have become the richest subject in 
Christendom.' — (Anderson's Origin of Commerce, 
years 1716 to 1720. Macpherson's European Com- 
merce with India, pp. 264 to 276. Justamond's trans- 
lation of the Abbe Raynal's European Settlements in 
the East and West Indies, vol. ii., pp. 61 to 68.) 

* Macpherson's Commerce, p. 269. It is a trite 
remark, but singularly apposite to the present case, 
that governments are never so ready to concede un- 
limited prisdleges as when their own authority stands 
on a tottering and precarious footing. In examining 
into all questions regarding the grant of exclusive 
privileges, and their beai'ing in a national point of 
view, it is always important to understand clearly the 
condition of the acting prince or government at the 
| time of making such concessions. 


1739 the French took forcible possession of 
Karical, on the Coromandel coast, which 
was confirmed to them by a grant from the 
rajah of Tanjore. Meanwhile, war was 
being carried on between Dost Ali, the go- 
vernor or nabob of Arcot, and the Mahrattas 
under Ragojee Bhonslay, which terminated 
in the defeat of the former. His family, and 
several of his subjects, took refuge in Pondi- 
cherry, whither Ragojee pursued them, and 
threatened to besiege the place, unless they 
were surrendered. This Dumas positively 
refused ; and at length, after plundering far 
and near, the Mahrattas accepted a small 
subsidy, and retired from the field in April, 
1741. Sufder Ali, the son of the deceased 
nabob, is alleged to have made a princely 
return for the protection bestowed upon his 
relatives, by ceding to Dumas personally 
three districts, in value amounting to nearly 
£100,000 sterling per annum. The emperor 
Mohammed is stated, by the same authority, 
to have confirmed this grant, and further 
to have sent Dumas a dress of honour, 
bestowed on him the title of nabob (a 
dignity never before conferred on a Euro- 
pean), and made him a Munsubdar of 4,500 — 
that is, a commander entitled to the rank 
and salary associated with the control of that 
(often almost nominal) number of cavalry. 
These distinctions were, it is added, trans- 
ferred to his successor, the afterwards fa- 
mous Dupleix.* 

Another justly celebrated man was then 
at the head of the presidency established by 
the French in the Indian seas, which com- 
prised the two islands of Mauritius and 
Mascarenhas, otherwise called Isles of 
France or Cerne, and of Bourbon. M. de la 
Bourdonnais was a native of St. Malo, and 
had been at sea since the age of ten years. 
In the course of his voyages he had the 
opportunity of observing the advantages of 
the coasting trade of India, in which he was 
the first of his nation to embark. In a few 
years he realised a considerable fortune, 
and by sheer force of character, acquired 
much influence over those with whom he 
associated. A violent quarrel between the 
crews of some Arabian and Portuguese 
ships, in the harbour of Mocha, was ami- 

* See Milburn's Oriental Commerce, i., 389. This 
usually correct writer possibly attributes to Dumas 
honours conferred on or assumed by Dupleix a few 
years later. Dost Aii was himself an interloper, un- 
confirmed by the emperor or the viceroy of the 
Deccan; and it is strange that the extravagant grant 
made by his son should have received the imperial 
sanction, even though bestowed in reward of opposi- 

cably adjusted through his intervention ; and 
the viceroy of Goa, greatly relieved by this 
termination of an affair which threatened 
fatal consequences, invited the successful 
mediator to enter the service of Portugal, 
gave him the title of agent for that power 
on the coast of Coromandel, together with 
the command of a royal ship, the rank of 
Fidalgo, and enrolled him as a member of 
the order of knighthood profanely termed 
" of Christ." In this honourable position 
he remained for two years, and then, in 1733, 
returned to France, where his reputation for 
ability and uprightness procured him the 
appointment of governor - general of the 
Mauritius and Mascarenhas, where he ar- 
rived in 1735. His conduct here was truly 
admirable. He found the people poor, in- 
dolent, and ignorant; but by dint of un- 
wearied application, and a capacity for 
taking the initiative in everything connected 
with the material welfare of the settlements 
over which he had been chosen to preside, 
he effected improvements which seemed, 
says Raynal, "owing to enchantment."f The 
functions of governor, judge, surveyor, 
engineer, architect, agriculturist, were al- 
ternately performed by this one man, who 
could build a ship from the keel, construct 
vehicles, and make roads ; break in bulls to 
the yoke, or teach the method of cultivat- 
ing wheat, rice, cassava, indigo, and the 
sugar-cane. He established an hospital for 
the sick, and notwithstanding his multi- 
farious occupations, visited it regularly every 
morning for a whole twelvemonth. Neither 
his unwearied labours, nor the extraordinary 
success with which they were attended, suf- 
ficed to shield him from the shafts of ca- 
lumny. Some ship-captains and other visi- 
tants of the island, whom he checked in 
their unreasonable demands, laid unfounded 
charges against him before the directors, and 
the high-spirited governor was consequently 
exposed to treatment which induced him to 
return to France, in 1740, with the intention 
Of resigning his harassing and thankless 
office. J This Orry would not permit, but 
induced him to return to the Isles, and en- 
couraged his plans for the extension of 
French power in the East, and of hostility 

tion to the common foe of Mohammedans, the Mah- 

t European Settlements in JE. W. Indies, ii., 75. 

% Eaynal states, that La Bourdonnais, being asked 
how he had conducted his private affairs with more 
ability than those of his employers, replied : " I ma- 
naged mine according to my own judgment, and those 
of the company according to their directions." 



INDIA— 1 740 to 1745. 

against the English. La Bourdonnais could 
not, however, procure , adequate means for 
the execution of his extensive projects; but 
the force entrusted to him was usefully em- 
ployed in raising the siege of Mahe, invested 
by the Mahrattas inl741, after which he again 
occupied himself with the same energy as be- 
fore in the details of his own government. 

Dupleix, the French governor-general in 
India, was perhaps equal to his colleague 
in a certain description of ability, and pro- 
bably superior to him in education and social 
position (his father having been a farmer- 
general of the revenues, and a director of 
the East India Company) ; but in manliness 
and integrity he was incomparably the in- 
ferior. In 1720, Dupleix was appointed first 
member of the council at Pondicherry ; and 
here he continued for ten years, carefully 
studying the politics of the epoch, and ac- 
cumulating property by engaging in the 
commerce of the country, from which the 
poverty of the servants of the French company 
for the most part debarred them. In 1730 
he was sent to superintend the settlement at 
Chandernagore, which he found in a very 
neglected condition. Under his rule a great 
change took place, and the increase of wealth 
and population was marked by the erection 
of no less than 2,000 brick houses. A new 
trading establishment was formed at Patna 
through his exertions, and the French com- 
merce in Bengal became an object of envy to 
all other Europeans. These indubitable 
proofs of legislative ability, aided probably 
by the influence of family connexion at 
home, procured for Dupleix the position of 
governor-general. It would seem as if the 
peculiar vices of his character had lain dor- 
mant while he remained in a subordinate 
position, but were called into action by the 
possession of supreme authority over his 
countrymen in India, checked only by re- 
sponsibility to a distant and ill-informed body 
of directors. Ambitious in the extreme, in- 
ordinately vain, and no less restless and 
intriguing, Dupleix, from this period, con- 
stantly manifested a degree of littleness which 
made his really remarkable talents a matter 
of doubt in the sight of many who deemed 
such opposite qualities incompatible. 

It may be imagined that a man of this cha- 
racter would neglect no opportunity of dis- 
tinguishing himself and extending the power 
of his nation at the expense of the English ; 
but his appointment at Pondicherry had 
been accompanied by such stringent com- 
mands for a general diminution of outlay, 

that he dared not commence hostilities, 
but was compelled to content himself by 
taking measures (in contravention to his 
instructions) for placing Pondicherry in a 
strongly defensible condition. 

The state of the English Company at this 
period has been sufficiently shown in pre- 
ceding pages. They do not appear to have 
numbered among their servants any leader 
fitted by experience and ability to oppose 
with success the generalship of La Bour- 
donnais, or the wiles of Dupleix. Happily 
for England, want of union in the councils 
of the enemy, tended to diminish the dan- 
ger of their hostile attempts. 

Before proceeding to narrate the struggle 
between the two nations, it is necessary to 
pause and briefly notice the leading terri- 
torial divisions of India at the epoch when 
the Mogul yoke changed from an iron 
chain to a rope of sand, and imperial vice- 
roys or subahdars, nabobs or deputy go- 
vernors, rajahs and ranas, naiks, wadeyars, 
polygars, zemindars, and innumerable chiefs 
of lesser note and differing titles, strove 
each one for the aggrandisement and in- 
dependence of himself or his own family. 
A similar summary has been given previous 
to the invasion of India by the followers 
of Mohammed (pp. 39 to 43) ; as also at 
the epoch formed by the accession of Akber 
in 1556 (pp. 93 to 107): it is now important 
to note the origin and condition of several 
newly- created principalities, and also the 
changes which had taken place in the older 
states, in the course of the intervening 
period of nearly two centuries, for the sake 
of affording a means of reference, the value 
of which will be apparent when the narra- 
tive of European progress brings into pro- 
minent notice nabobs and rajahs taking 
their titles from places as yet unheard of. 

Indian States — 1740 to 1745. — The in- 
vasion of Nadir Shah, in 1739 (as has been 
shown in previous pages), left the Great Mo- 
gul in the dismantled palace of his ances- 
tors, with an exhausted treasury and an 
empire diminished by the severance of Ca- 
bool, Sinde, and Moultan. A few years 
later, and another jewel was snatched from 
the imperial crown. The lovely valley of 
Cashmere, ever since its acquisition by 
Akber, had been the favourite retreat of 
successive monarchs from the intense sum- 
mer-heats of Delhi or Agra. Here Jehan- 
geer had held many a Bacchanalian revel, 
and spent long hours in dalliance with the 
gifted but unprincipled Nour Mahal, watch- 


ing her distilling the far-famed essence of 
the rose, or listening to her magnificent 
projects for the erection of public edifices, 
mingled, too often, with unworthy schemes 
of ambition or revenge. Here Shah Jehan 
passed many bright summers before death 
took away Taj Mahal, the wife whom he truly 
loved, and before the quarrels and rebel- 
lion of the children she had borne, brought 
to him, in retribution for the unsparing 
cruelty which had attended his accession 
to the throne, an old age of sorrowful 
captivity. Here Aurungzebe, proof alike 
against the enervating influences of climate, 
the charms of the seraglio, the seductions 
of wine, or the intoxicating drugs which 
had been the bane of his race, pondered in 
austere seclusion over the complicated web 
he spent a life in weaving, with the bitter 
result of finding himself at last entangled 
in his own toils. Here, lastly, Mohammed 
Shah came, in the first flush of regal gran- 
deur, to forget, amid a crowd of giddy 
courtiers, the heavy responsibilities of the 
inheritance of despotic power which his 
indolent, easy nature rendered peculiarly 
burdensome ; and here, too, he came in age, 
and beholding the vessel of the state, com- 
mitted by Providence to his guidance, 
reduced almost to a wreck, by calamities 
brought on by internal corruption, rather 
than by external strife, he probably learnt 
the causes of evils it was too late to remedy, 
but which he encountered with a quiet dig- 
nity and forbearance that served to keep 
together some of the shattered remains of 
imperial power. Cashmere was, however, 
seized by Ahmed Shah Abdulli, and incor- 
porated in the new kingdom of Candahar ; 
and the conqueror proceeded to invade the 
Punjaub, and had even crossed the Sutlej, 
when he was met by the Mogul army (under 
his namesake the heir-apparent), completely 
defeated, and driven back. This victory was 
followed almost immediately by the death of 
Mohammed Shah, and the accession of 
Prince Ahmed. The period, however, of 
which we are treating commences with the 

* The rise of the Mahrattas materially aided the 
Jats, by withdrawing Aurungzebe from the neighbour- 
hood of Agra ; but the statement of Grant Duff, 
that the plunder of the imperial army enabled them 
to fortify Bhurtpoor, is contradicted by Elphinstone. 
— {India, ii., 511. See also Thornton's Indian Gazet- 
teer, in four vols., London, 1854 — article, Bhurtpore.) 

f See p. 171. — The founder of the Rohillas is 
described by Duff as the son of a Hindoo Aheer, a 
class of shepherds nearly similar to the Dhunyurs of 
Maharashtra. An Afghan adopted him when a boy, 
and gave him the name of Ali Mohammed Kohilla. 

departure of the Persian invaders (1739.) 
The intrigues of viceroys and governors were 
speedily resumed when the first stunning 
effect of the late calamity had passed away. 
In Oude, Sadut Khan had been succeeded 
by his nephew and son-in-law, Sufder Jung. 
In the Punjaub, the rebellion of the Mogul 
viceroy soon produced renewed incursions 
from the Afghan border, and the province 
of Guzebat fell completely into the hands 
of the Mahrattas. The three chief Rajpoot 
states of Jeypoor (Amber), Joudpoob (Mar- 
war), and Oodipoob (Mewar), were still, to 
some extent, tributary to the emperor. The 
two last-named had been subjected to partial 
devastation from the Mahrattas; but the 
intimate connexion subsisting between Rajah 
Jey Sing and Bajee Rao, prevented such 
aggressions in the districts of Jeypoor, at 
the cost to the empire of the province of 
Malwa. The Jats, established in the terri- 
tory between Agra and Jeypoor, were 
rapidly gaining ground ; and after the Mah- 
rattas crossed the Chumbul, they, for the 
most part, maintained a friendly intercourse 
with their fellow-marauders.* The princi- 
pality afterwards known by the name of 
Rohilla, was in progress of establishment in 
the Doab, little more than a hundred miles 
to the southward of Delhi, f Bengal, Bahab, 
and Obissa were under the sway of Ali 
Verdi Khan, but subject to the exactions of 
the Mahrattas, to whom the whole of India 
was rapidly becoming more or less tributary. 
When one pretext failed, another could 
easily be found by those who had the power 
of enforcing their most unreasonable de- 
mands. A district once overrun, was said to be 
under tribute from usage, whilst chout and 
surdeshmooki were extorted from the others 
by virtue of letters patent.J Thus, on various 
pretences the Mahrattas, says Duff, " went 
plundering and burning on the east and 
on the west, from the Hooghly to the Bunass, 
and from Madras to Delhi;" while the 
Europeans, in their profound ignorance of 
native history, watched with amazement the 
progress of a people whom they still called 

His followers assumed the same designation ; and 
from being the commander of a small party of 
Afghan cavalry, in the service of the deputy-go- 
vernors of Moradabad, he gradually obtained pos- 
session of lands, and encroached by degrees, until 
the force sent for his expulsion by the imperial 
viceroy, proved insufficient for the purpose. 

+ It does not appear that any deed for collecting 
general chout over the empire was ever granted by 
Mohammed Shah : sums of money and convenient 
assignments were the modes of payment. — (Grant 
Duff's History of the Mahrattas, i., 457.) 


" the Sevajees," after their great leader, in- 
stead of by their own distinctive appellation. 

The centre of the diffusive power of the 
Mahrattas was Maharashtra, the region 
where their peculiar language was spoken. 
The whole of this territory had, in 1573, 
during the reign of Akber, been subject to 
the kings of Beejapoor and Ahmednuggur, 
with the exception of a part of Candeish 
(which was held as an independent princi- 
pality by the sultan of Boorhanpoor), of the 
northern Concan belonging to Guzerat, and 
the possessions of the Portuguese.* At that 
period Golconda was the third important 
Mohammedan state in the Deccan, Beder 
(the seat of the Bahmani dynasty) and Berar 
having been annexed to the dominions of 
their more powerful neighbouring states, 
which, as we have seen, were themselves in 
turn extinguished by the encroachments of 
Sevajee on the one side, and the levelling 
policy of Aurungzebe on the other. The six 
Mogul subahs or provinces of the DECCANf 
were, in 1741, in so far as the Delhi emperor 
was concerned, an independent government, 
under the irresponsible rule of the old nizam, 
Asuf Jah, who divided the revenues with 
the Mahrattas; the advantage being, as has 
been shown, increasingly on their side. The 
fixed possessions of the Mohammedans, for 
many centuries after their first invasion of 
the peninsula, did not extend south of the 
Kistna; and, indeed, the term of "the 
Deccan/' by writers of this religion, and 
even by Wilks and other English authorities, 
is commonly used to denote the countries 
lying between the Nerbudda and Kistna; 
the territory below the latter river being 
distinguished as the south of India. It is 
with this portion of the continent that we 

* See pp. 43 and 140. Hindoo writers differ ma- 
terially as to the extent of Maharashtra, which they 
designate one of the five principal divisions of the 
Deccan. According to the Tutwa (one of the books 
of the Jotush Shastra or Hindoo Astronomy), Maha- 
rashtra extend. 0 no farther than the Chandore range 
of hills, where Kolwun, Buglana, and Candeish are 
represented as its northern boundaries ; and all be- 
yond those countries is indiscriminately termed 
Vendhiadree. Duff adds, " that the tract between 
Chandore and Eroor Manjera, on the Kistna, is 
certainly the most decidedly Mahratta, and in it there 
is the least variation in the language ; but follow- 
ing the rule adverted to in its more extended sense, 
Maharashtra is that space which is bounded on the 
north by the Sautpoora [? Vindhya] mountains, and 
extends from Naundode, on the west, along those 
mountains to the Wyne Gunga, east of Nagpoor." — 
(i., 3.) A waving line from Mahoor to Goa, with the 
ocean on the westward, form the chief remaining 
limits. Wilks states, that the Mahratta language 

are more particularly concerned, from its 
having been the scene of the first struggle 
for supremacy between European powers. 
Previous to the battle of Talicot, in 1565, 
the whole of this territory was, more or less, 
under the sway of the government of Beeja- 
nuggur, or Vijeyanuggur ; but many dis- 
tricts were held by families who ruled as tribu- 
taries or feudatories, with hereditary power. 
The defeat and slaughter of the brave old 
Rama Rajah, and the destruction of his 
capital by the conjoined exertions of the 
four Mohammedan sovereigns of the Deccan, 
were not followed by any systematic attempts 
for the annexation of Beejanuggur by the 
conquerors to their own dominions, private 
jealousies and international disputes pre- 
venting any permanent arrangement between 
them regarding the division of the spoil. 
Venkatadri, the brother of the late rajah, 
established himself at Penconda, about 140 
miles south-east of the former capital, and 
from thence the seat of government was 
shortly afterwards transferred toChandragiri. 
About the year 1597, a descendant of the 
ancient Ray eels (as the rajahs of this dynasty 
were called) ruled with some degree of 
magnificence at Chandragiri and Vellore, 
where he still held at least nominal sway 
over the governors or naiks of Jinjee, Tan- 
jore, Madura, Chennapatam, Seringapatam 
(Mysoor), and Penconda; and in 1640, the 
last representative of this ancient house, 
Sree Ranga Raya, sanctioned the establish- 
ment of the English at Chennapatam, or 
Madras. About six years afterwards, he 
was driven by the forces of Golconda from 
his occasional places of residence and nominal 
capitals at Chandragiri and Chingleput, and 
compelled to take refuge with the chief 

spreads from Beder to the north-west of Canara, 
and of a line which, passing considerably to the 
eastward of Dowlatabad, forms an irregular sweep 
until it touches the Taptee, and follows the course 
of that river to the western sea, on which the dis- \ 
trict of Sedashegur, in North Canara, forms its south- 
ern limit. In the geographical tables of the Hin- j 
doos, the name of Maharashtra — and by contraction, 
Mahratta dasum (or countrxj) — seems to have been 
more particularly appropriated to the eastern por- ' 
tion of this great region, including Baglana, part of 
Berar, and Candeish : the western was known by its 
present name of Concan. — [Historical Sketches of 
the South of India, or History of Mysoor, i., 5-fi.) 

f 1st. Candeish, capital Burhanpoor. 2nd. Aurun- 
gabad, which comprised the territory formerly called 
the state of Ahmednuggur, governed by the Nizam 
Shahi dynasty. 3rd. Beejapoor or Viziapoor, the 
capital of the Adil Shahi dynasty. 4th. Beder. 
5th. Berar. 6th. Hyderabad, capital of the Gol- 
conda or Kootb Shahi dynasty. 



of Bednore or Nuggur (now included in 
Mysoor.) Sera, Bangalore, and Colar, with 
the important fortresses of Vellore and Jinjee, 
were seized by Beejapoor, the ambitious 
and short-sighted rulers of that kingdom 
continuing, to their last gasp of power, to en- 
deavour to increase a superstructure already 
too extensive for its slender and tottering 
base. Aurungzebe's great political error, in 
destroying states it was his interest to uphold 
in dependence upon him, brought both them 
and him a fitting reward for the ungovern- 
able lust of conquest. It levelled the only 
barrier to the rapid spread of Hindoo power ; 
and in a short period of years, the supre- 
macy of the Mahratta state was acknow- 
ledged, more or less decidedly, over all the 
south of India ; and this, notwithstanding 
the incongruities of its internal constitution 
with its capitals of Sattara, where the rajahs 
lived (kings in name, captives or pageants 
in reality) ; and of Poona, where the peish- 
was (ministers in name, sovereigns in reality) 
held their now sumptuous courts and exer- 
cised sway, checked however materially by 
the private designs and unsleeping watch- 
fulness of the Dhabaray family, Rugojee 
Bhonslay, and other noted leaders. "With 
these turbulent chieftains, the peishwas 
were glad to compromise matters, by suffer- 
ing them to invade Guzerat, Bengal, and 
other Mogul provinces on their own ac- 
count; the authority of the rajah being a 
convenient pretence, occasionally resorted to 
in confirmation of such arrangements, and 
which, strange to say, still carried consider- 
able weight in the minds of the people, it 
being quite inconsistent with the character 
of the Brahminical cast to govern, except 
after the- fashion of an English " lord-pro- 
tector" or a French cardinal. 

The death of Bajee Rao, the famous antago- 
nist of the nizam, in 1740, has been narrated 
(p. 169), as also the events which attended 
the accession to the peishwaship of his son 
Ballajee Bajee Rao. It is not necessary to 
enter further into the Mahratta history of 
this period, save in so far as it is connected 
with that of the various distinct principali- 
ties now fast rising into importance beneath 
the sway of native rulers or usurping go- 

* History of Mysoor, i. 8. 

•f Situated on the western coast of the Indian 
peninsula, between the Concan and Malabar (for- 
merly named Kerala.) 

% The great geographical feature of the south of 
India is a central eminence of 3,000 to 5,000 feet in 
height, above the level of the sea, separated by 
abrupt declivities from the low flat countries to the 

vernors. Under the latter head may be 
classed Toolava, the region (formerly part 
of Dravida) distinguished in European maps 
as the Carnatic — a tract, says Colonel Wilks, 
which " by a fatality unexampled in the 
history of nations, neither is nor ever was 
known by that name to the people of the 
province, or of any part of India."* The 
misnomer originated in the conquest of 
Toolava by the government of Canara 
Proper,f not long before the partition of 
the dominions of that state between the 
kings of Golconda and Beejapoor. These 
sovereigns, in dividing a country of whose 
condition and history they were wholly 
ignorant, were satisfied with the sweeping 
designations of the Carnatic Bala Ghaut 
and Payeen Ghaut (above and below the 
Ghauts) J — appellations which were trans- 
ferred with the dominion over the region 
thus arbitrarily renamed — when all other 
Mohammedan governments were swallowed 
up in Mogul supremacy. In 1706, a chief 
named Sadut Oollah Khan (through the influ- 
ence of Daud Khan Panni,§ then viceroy of 
the Deccan), was appointed by the emperor 
nabob of the Carnatic Bala Ghaut and Payeen 
Ghaut, |1 and he continued to fill that position 
after the death of his patron and the acces- 
sion of the nizam. Sadut Oollah is supposed 
to have fixed the seat of his government at 
Arcot about the year 1716, no inscription 
or authority (says Colonel Wilks) having been 
discovered to prove the previous existence 
of a capital on that site. He died in 1732, 
leaving no issue male ; but through the pre- 
cautions taken in behalf of his nephews and 
adopted sons, Dost Ali and Bakir Ali, the 
latter continued to be governor of Vellore, 
while the former succeeded in establishing 
himself as nabob of the Carnatic, despite the 
opposition of the nizam, whose jealous in- 
terference prevented his procuring an au- 
thentic commission from Delhi. At the 
period of his accession, the new nabob had 
two sons ; the elder, Sufder Ali, had reached 
manhood : he had also several daughters, 
one of whom was married to a distant rela- 
tive, the afterwards famous Chunda Sahib, 
who first acquired notoriety by his treache- 
rous acquisition of Trichinopoly. This little 

east and west, which form a belt of small and un- 
equal breadth between the hills and the ocean. This 
central eminence is usually named the Bala Ghaut ; 
and the lower belt, the Payeen Ghaut — Ghaut sig- 
nifying a mountain pass or break. 
§ See page 156. 

|| Called also the Carnatic Beejapoor Bala Ghaut, 
and the Carnatic Hyderabad Payeen Ghaut. 


state, like the neighbouring principality of 
Tanjore, although at times subject to the 
exactions of the Mohammedan rulers of 
Beejapoor and Golcouda, had maintained its 
independence from a remote date. The 
death of the rajah, in 1736, gave rise to dis- 
putes concerning the succession. Minakshi 
Amman, the reigning queen, upheld the 
cause of her adopted son against a rival 
claimant, and was actively supported by 
Chunda Sahib. Grateful for his assistance, 
and unsuspicious of any sinister motive, the 
queen was induced to give her ally free 
access to the citadel, and he abused her 
confidence by taking possession of the 
government in his own right, and im- 
prisoning the ill-fated lady, who soon died 
of grief. This unworthy conduct excited 
strong dissatisfaction throughout the neigh- 
bouring states. The nabob viewed with 
alarm the ambitious and unscrupulous 
temper of his son-in-law, and the nizam 
was exceedingly annoyed by the growing 
power of a family, whose members, though 
disunited among themselves, would, he well 
knew, at any time coalesce against him as 
their common foe. The Hindoo princes 
participated in the jealous feelings of the 
nizam, and were likewise, it may be sup- 
posed, moved with honest indignation at the 
cruel treatment sustained by their fellow-so- 
vereign. The result was, the invasion of the 
Carnatic by a Mahratta army under Rugo- 
jee Bhonslay, in 1740, and the defeat and 
death of Dost Ali; followed, in 1741, by the 
siege of Trichinopoly and the capture of 
Chunda Sahib, who was carried prisoner to 
Sattara. Sufder Ali, the new nabob, was 
assassinated at the instigation of his cousin, 
Murtezza Ali, the governor of Vellore ; * and 
the murderer, after vainly endeavouring to 
take advantage of his crime, by establishing 
himself as ruler of the province, shut him- 
self up in his own citadel. 

The nizam having determined on quitting 
Delhi, arrived at Arcot in 1743. He found 
that the infant son of Sufder Ali had been 
proclaimed nabob ; and the popular feeling 
on the subject was so decided, that not 
caring openly to dispute the hereditary suc- 
cession tacitly established in the family of 
Sadut Oollah, the wily politician affected to 

* Murtezza Ali is described by Orme as the model 
of a cruel and suspicious tyrant : he " never moved, 
not even in his own palace, without being surrounded 
by guards, nor ever ventured to taste anything that 
was not brought to him in a vessel to which his wife 
had affixed her seal." He is stated to have procured 
the assassination of his unsuspicious relative, by the 

intend confirming the boy in office so soon 
as he should arrive at years of discretion. 
In the interim, he placed two of his own 
followers in the government. The first of 
these, Khojeh Abdulla, died in a very short 
space of time — it was supposed from the 
effects of poison administered by his succes- 
sor, Anwar-oo-deen : shortly afterwards, the 
youthful expectant of the nabobship, who 
had been very improperly committed by the 
nizam to the care of this same person, so 
notoriously unfit for such a charge, was 
mortally stabbed at a public festival, by a 
guard of Patan soldiers, under pretence of 
revenging the non-payment of arrears due 
to them by the father of their victim. 
Anwar-oo-deen and Murtezza Ali were sus- 
pected of having conspired for the com- 
mission of this new crime — an opinion which 
gained strength by the efforts each of them 
made to cast the odium wholly on the 
other. The nizam would not listen to the 
accusations brought against Anwar-oo-deen 
by the friends of the unfortunate family of 
Sadut Oollah, but caused him to be formally 
installed as nabob of the Carnatic, notwith- 
standing the opposition of the people of the 
province, who found in the arbitrary and par- 
simonious administration of the new gover- 
nor additional cause to remember the lenient 
and liberal conduct of their former rulers. 
It has been necessary to enter thus far into 
the domestic history of the Carnatic, in 
elucidation of its condition at the period 
when this very Anwar-oo-deen became an 
important personage in Indo-European 
history. For the same reason, a few words 
must be said regarding the native state of 
Tanjore — a relic of the ancient Hindoo king- 
dom of Madura — which, owing to domestic 
dissensions, had fallen into the hands of a 
Mahratta ruler. The sovereignty became 
an object of contest to the grandsons of 
Venkajee, the half-brother of Sevajee. One 
of these, named Pertab Sing, the son of a 
concubine, succeeded in gaining possession 
of it, in 1741, to the exclusion of Syajee, 
the legitimate heir of the late rajah. Syajee, 
some years after, sought help from the English. 

The Mysoor state, long a dependency of 
the kingdom of Beejanuggur, was founded 
under romantic circumstances, f by a youth 

hand of a Patan officer whom Sufder Ali had deeply 
injured by the seduction of his wife, and who availed 
himself of the opportunity of wreaking a deadly 
revenge by entering the tent of the nabob at midnight, 
and stabbing him while attempting to escape. — 
{Military Transactions, i., 46 — 48.). 

f Two brothers left the court of Beejanuggur to 



of the famous tribe of Yedava, which boasts 
among its eminent characters, Crishna (the 
celebrated Indian Apollo), one of the incar- 
nations of Vishnu. The first chieftain or 
rajah of this family whose date is established, 
succeeded to power in 1507, and was sur- 
named Arbiral, or the six-fingered, from the 
personal trait thus described. A fort was 
constructed or repaired in 1524, at Mahesh 
Asoor,* contracted to Mysoor ; but it was 
not till after the battle of Talicot (forty 
years later), that its petty chieftains began 
to assume any importance among the princes 
of the south. In 1610 they acquired pos- 
session of Seringapatam, which thenceforth 
became the seat of government ; and from 
this period their territories increased rapidly, 
and continued to do so, even after becoming 
avowedly tributary both to the Mogul em- 
peror and to the Mahratta rajah Shao. 

South Canara, Malabar, and Travan- 
core remain to be noticed, having as yet 
escaped Mohammedan invasion. In the first 
of these was situated the country of Bed- 
nobe, under the sway of a family, who from 
a small establishment at Caladee,in 1499, had 
gradually extended their limits to the sea- 
coast of Onore, and southward to the limits 
of Malabar, over the dominions of the former 
ranee of Garsopa, the "pepper queen" of 
Portuguese authors; while, on the north, 
they successfully opposed the further advance 
of the forces of Beejapoor along the sea- 
coast. Sree Ranga Raya, when expelled from 
his last fortress, Chandragiri, took refuge 
here; and the Bednore rajah, formerly a 
servant of his family, availed himself of the 
pretence of re-establishing the royal house 
of his liege lord, as a cloak for his own am- 
bitious designs. The district belonging to 
Sumbajee, the Mahratta chief of Kolapoor, 

seek their fortunes, and having in the course of their 
■wanderings alighted near the border of a tank, be- 
side the little fort of Hadana, a few miles from the 
site of the present town of Mysoor, they overheard 
some women, who had come to fetch water, bewail- 
ing the fate of the only daughter of their wadeyar 
(i.e., lord of thirty-three villages), who was about to 
be given in marriage to a neighbouring chief of in- 
ferior cast, as the only means of preserving her 
family from immediate hostilities, which, owing to 
the mental derangement of the wadeyar, they were 
quite unprepared to resist. The young knights- 
errant offered their services to rescue the afflicted 
damsel from the impending disgrace; and after slay- 
ing the bridegroom and his companions at the mar- 
riage feast, marched, at the head of the men of 
Hadana, upon his territory of Caragully, which hav- 
ing captured, the conquerors returned in triumph to 
Hadana; and one of them, Vijeya, married the lady, 
nothing loth, and by the general voice of her people 

formed the limits of Bednore on one side; 
and to the southwards, lay the mountainous 
principality of Coorg, between the coast of 
Malabar and Mysoor. Malabar itself brings 
us to the familiar territory of Calicut, go- 
verned by the zamorin or Tamuri rajah, 
bounded to the southward by Cochin, on 
the opposite side of which, at the extreme end 
of the Peninsula, was the state of Tanjore, 
once an integral part of Malabar, known in 
the records of the E. I. Cy. as the country 
of the queen of Attinga,f by whose permis- 
sion an English factory was formed at An- 
jengo, in 1694. Since then Tanjore had 
become famous in the annals of the Dutch, 
through the determined opposition of its 
rajah to their encroachments and oppression. 

Besides the states enumerated in the above 
sketch, there were many others of less note; 
such for instance as those formed by the 
rajah of Soonda and the dessaye of Carwar, 
(who had taken part with the Portuguese in 
their late conflict with the Mahrattas) ; also 
by the Patan chiefs of Kurnoul, Kurpa, 
and Savanoor, descendants of governors 
under the -dynasties of Beejapoor and Gol- 
conda. The three last-named were closely 
connected with some of the leading Mahratta 
chieftains, and had been for some time nearly 

Struggle for supremacy between Eng- 
land and France. — Allusion has been made 
to the commercial crisis which convulsed 
these nations in 1720, brought on by im- 
prudence and the absence of sound principle 
on the part of their respective governments. 
A quarter of a century later we find them 
exchanging declarations of war; and after 
being, in the first instance, drawn into the 
vortex as auxiliaries in the disputed Austrian 

was elected wadeyar, first changing his creed from 
that of a disciple of Vishnu to a.ju?iyutn or lihgwunt 
— Hindoo terms, which will be hereafter explained. 

* Mahesh Asoor, " the buffalo-headed monster," 
whose overthrew is the most noted exploit of Cali, 
the consort of Siva. This goddess is still worshipped 
under the name of Chamoondee (the discomfiter of 
enemies) on the hill of Mysoor, in a temple famed at 
one period for human sacrifices. (Wilks' '3Iysoor, i. 34.) 

t Hamilton states, that from remote antiquity the 
male offspring of the tumburetties, or princesses of 
Attinga, had inherited the sovereignty of Travan- 
core, and continued to do so until the middle of the 
eighteenth century, when the reigning " tamburetty" 
was prevailed upon to transfer the authority to the 
male line. The conquests made by the Tanjore ruler, 
between 1740 and 1755, are attributed to the effi- 
ciency of a body of troops disciplined after the Euro- 
pean manner by Eustachius de Lanoy, a Flemish 
officer. — (East India Gazetteer, ii., 674.) 


succession, becoming themselves fired with 
the fierce excitement, they continued the 
contest as principals, on one pretext or an- 
other ; the actual end desired by either party 
being the attainment of complete master y in 
all points, whether as regarded political as- 
cendancy in Europe, transatlantic dominion, 
trading monopolies, or maritime power. 
In this unhallowed rivalry both kingdoms 
lavished unsparingly life and treasure, deeply 
injuring each other's resources, and griev- 
ously retarding their mutual growth in Chris- 
tian civilisation and commercial prosperity. 
Spain, then a great colonial and naval power, 
sided with France, while England had to 
withstand their united force, and, at the 
same time, to bear up against the disturb- 
ances connected with the Hanoverian succes- 
sion, and the long struggle which terminated 
in the independence of the United States. 
Sea and land witnessed the strife. In North 
America — at Quebec, Louisberg, and on the 
Mississippi; in the West Indies — at Marti- 
nique, Guadaloupe, and the Caribbee Islands ; 
in Africa — at Goree and Senegal ; in the 
Mediterranean and Atlantic — at Minorca and 
Belleisle ; and on the European continent, pro- 
longed hostilities were waged : while in India 
a contest commenced which lasted sixty years, 
the prize there fought for being nothing less 
than the establishment of a powerful Euro- 
pean dominion in the very heart of Asia. 
It is not to be supposed that the trading 
societies who first gained a footing amid the 
confusion of falling dynasties and usurping 
chiefs, foresaw from the commencement of the 
conflict the marvellous results with which their 
operations were to be attended. With the ex- 
ception, perhaps, of the brothers Child, none 
of the officers of the old-established English 
company had any desire for the acquisition 
of sovereignty, nor had they the inducement 
which might have been afforded by an insight 
into the actual condition of India. The gene- 
ral indifference manifested by the servants of 
the various European companies towards the 
attainment of Asiatic languages, long tended 
to prevent their acquiring this knowledge, 
even when the course of events plainly de- 
monstrated its importance. Moreover, the 
English and French associations were both 
poor, and extremely unwilling to enter upon 
a costly warfare, respecting the issue of 
which no reasonable conjecture could be 
formed. The representatives of the latter 
body became first inspired with an irrestrain- 
able desire to take part in the strife and in- 
trigue by which they were surrounded; and 

the connection which subsisted between the 
government and the French company, en- 
abled La Bourdonnais and Dupleix to obtain, 
through the influence of Orry the minister, a 
sanction for their daring adventures, which 
the partners of a purely mercantile association 
would, if they could, have withheld. Even 
had the two states in Europe continued at 
peace, it was next to impossible that their 
subjects in India should bear a share in the 
disputes of neighbouring princes without 
soon coming to open hostility with each 
other; and the national declarations of war 
brought matters to an immediate crisis. 

The English were the first to receive 
reinforcements from home. A squadron of 
four vessels appeared off the coast of Coro- 
mandel, in July, 1745, having previously 
captured three richly-laden French vessels 
on their voyage from China. The garrison of 
Pondicherry contained only 436 Europeans, 
and the fortifications were incomplete. 
Dupleix, fearing that the place would be 
taken before La Bourdonnais could answer 
his appeal for succour, made earnest repre- 
sentations to the nabob, Anwar-oo-deen, 
and succeeded in inducing him to interfere 
for the protection of Pondicherry, by threat- 
ening to revenge upon Madras any injury 
which should be inflicted Upon French pos- 
sessions within the limits of his government. 
At the same time, the nabob declared his 
intention of compelling the French, in the 
event of their acquiring additional strength, 
to abstain equally from offensive proceedings. 
Mogul power had not yet lost its prestige : 
that of England was still to be won ; conse- 
quently the determined language of the 
nabob intimidated the Madras presidency, 
and induced them to prevent the fleet from 
attacking Pondicherry, and to confine their 
operations to the sea. In the June of the 
following year a French squadron arrived 
in the Indian ocean, under the command of 
La Bourdonnais, who had equipped the ships 
with great difficulty at the Mauritius; and 
when afterwards dismantled by a hurricane, 
had refitted them at Madagascar. An inde- 
cisive action took place between the rival 
fleets, after which the French commander 
proceeded to Pondicherry, and there re- 
quested a supply of cannon, wherewith to 
attack Madras. The hearty co-operation of 
Dupleix and his council was, at this mo- 
ment, of the highest importance ; but 
jealousy of the renown which would attend 
the success of the enterprise, induced 
them to receive the solicitations of their 



colleague -with haughty and insulting in- 
difference. La Bourdonnais, already se- 
verely tried by the miserable unfitness of 
the greater portion of his crews, consisting 
of sailors for the first time at sea, and 
soldiers who needed instruction how to fire 
a musket — their inefficiency increased by 
sickness, by which he was himself almost 
prostrated — had now to struggle against the 
aggravating tone adopted towards him by 
those to whom he looked for aid and sym- 
pathy. Under these circumstances, he be- 
haved with singular discretion and forbear- 
ance, and having at length obtained a scanty 
reinforcement of guns, set sail for Madras, 
against which place he commenced opera- 
tions on the 3rd of September, 1746.* 

The fortifications of the city had been 
neglected, owing to the financial embarrass- 
ment of the E. I. Cy. There was little 
ammunition in store, and the soldiers 
were few, and of a very indifferent descrip- 
tion. The total number of Europeans in 
the settlement did not exceed 300, and of 
these about two-thirds were included in the 
garrison. As might be expected, no very 
determined resistance was offered. The 
town was bombarded for several days, and 
four or five of the inhabitants were killed by 
the explosion of shells, after which a capitu- 
lation was agreed upon, by virtue of which 
the assailants entered Madras as victors, 
without the loss of a single man, but on the 
express condition that the settlement should 
be restored on easy and honourable terms. 
This arrangement was in strict accordance 
with the instructions laid down by the 
French directors, who expressly forbade 
the extension of territory until their exist- 
ing settlements should be more firmly esta- 
blished, and ordered their servants, in the 
event of capturing the possessions of any 
foreign foe, to abide by the alternative of de- 
struction or a ransom. The very day of 
the surrender of Madras, a messenger, dis- 

* The forces destined for the siege comprised 
about 1,100 Europeans, 400 sepoys, and 400 Mada- 
gascar blacks; 1,700 or 1,800 European mariners 
remained to guard the ships. — (Orme, i., 67.) 

f 3Iilitary Transactions, i., 73. 

% Fron thence La Bourdonnais returned to France 
to vindicate himself from the complaints preferred by 
the family of Dupleix, some of whom being inti- 
mately connected with the E. I. Cy., had warmly 
espoused the quariel of their relative against his 
more worthy adversary, lie took his passage in a 
ship belonging to Holland, which, in consequence of 
the declaration of war, was forced into an English 
harbour. The distinguished passengerwas recognised; 
but his conduct at Madras procured him an honour- 

patched for more expedition on a camel, 
arrived at Pondicherry with a letter from 
Anwar-oo-deen, expressing his great sur- 
prise at the conduct of the French in at- 
tacking Madras, and threatening to send an 
army there if the siege were not immediately 
raised. Dupleix returned a deceitful an- 
swer, promising that the town, if taken, 
should be surrendered to the nabob, with 
liberty to make favourable terms with the 
English for the restitution of so valuable a 
possession. Meanwhile, La Bourdonnais, 
relying on his own commission, proceeded 
to arrange the treaty of surrender without 
regard to the remonstrances or threats of 
Dupleix, who, notwithstanding the recent 
assurance given by him to the nabob, now 
insisted that Madras should be either re- 
tained as a French settlement, or razed to 
the ground. Three men-of-war arrived at ' 
this period at Pondicherry; and, thus in- 
creased, says Orme, the French force " was 
sufficient to have conquered the rest of 
the British settlements in Hindoostan/'-j- 
La Bourdonnais had resolved on making the 
attempt, but his plans were contravened by 
Dupleix; and after much time having been 
wasted in disputes regarding the evacuation 
of Madras, a storm came on which materially 
injured the fleet, and compelled its brave com- 
mander to return in haste, before the change 
of the monsoon, to his own government at 
the Mauritius,! without staying to complete 
the shipment of the seized goods, which was 
to be followed by the restoration of the 
town. The machinations of Dupleix had 
thus succeeded in thwarting the views he 
ought to have promoted, and at the same 
time in acquiring an important addition of 
1,200 trained men,' left behind in conse- 
quence of the damage done to the squadron 
by the late tempest : accessions of strength 
were also received from other quarters, which 
raised the number of European troops at 
Pondicherry, in all, to about 3,000 men. 

able reception ; and the proposition of an East India 
director to become surety for him in person and 
property, was declined by government, on the ground 
that the word of La Bourdonnais was alone suffi- 
cient. This circumstance may have served to soothe 
the bitter trials which awaited his arrival in France. 
He was thrown into the Bastile, and remained in that 
terrible state prison for three years ; at the expira- 
tion of which time his published vindication, sup- 
ported by authentic documents, manifested not only 
the injustice of the charges brought against him, but 
also the ardour and ability of his services. Though 
liberated, he appears to have obtained no redress, and 
did not long survive his acquittal, which took place 
when he was about fifty-three years of age. 


These additions were needed to combat 
the force dispatched by Anwar-oo-deen for 
the recapture of Madras, so soon as he per- 
ceived the hollowness of the professions by 
which he had been induced to violate his 
pledge to the English, of compelling the 
French to abstain from hostile proceedings 
throughout the Carnatic. 

An army, commanded by the son of the 
nabob, invested Madras, and made some 
clumsy attempts to imitate the proceedings 
which had proved successful in the previous 
instance. The French encountered them 
with a greatly inferior numerical force ; but 
the skilful and rapid management of their 
artillery, abundantly compensated for this 
disproportion, and enabled them to acquire a 
decisive victory. The event is memorable, 
as marking the commencement of a new 
phase of Indian history. The triumphs of 
the Portuguese were, for the most part, two 
centuries old : of late years Europeans had 
bowed submissively before the footstool of 
Mogul arrogance ; and the single attempt of 
the English (in 1686) to obtain independent 
power, had only reduced them to a yet 
more humiliating position. The utter in- 
ability of unwieldy and ill-disciplined masses 
to contend with compact bodies of well- 
trained troops, was a fact which the French 
had again brought to light, together with 
another of equal importance — namely, the 
facility with which natives might be enrolled 
among the regular troops, and the reliance 
to be placed upon them. Already there 
were four or five disciplined companies at 
Pondicherry ; but the English had not yet 
adopted a similar procedure. Dupleix fol- 
lowed up the defeat of the nabob's force, 
by declaring the treaty with the English 
annulled, and giving orders for the seizure 
of every article of property belonging to 
the unfortunate inhabitants, excepting their 
personal clothes, the movables of their 
houses, and the jewels of the women — com- 
mands which were executed with avaricious 
exactness. The governor and leading persons 
were carried prisoners to Pondicherry, and 
there exhibited before the native public in a 
species of triumph. 

Fort St. David, twelve miles south of 
Pondicherry, next became an object of am- 
bition, and a body of 1,700 men, mostly 
Europeans, was dispatched, for the attack 
of its garrison, which, including refugees 
from Madras, comprehended no more than 
200 Europeans and 100 Topasses. The un- 
expected advance of a large force, sent by 

Anwar-oo-deen to the relief of the fort, 
took the French by surprise while resting 
from a fatiguing march, and exulting in the 
prospect of an easy prey. They retreated 
at once, with the loss of twelve Europeans 
killed and 120 wounded. An attempt was 
next made upon the native town of Cuddalore, 
which was situated about a mile from Fort St. 
David, and inhabited by the principal Indian 
merchants, and by many natives in the em- 
ployment of the company. Five hundred 
men were embarked in boats, with orders 
to enter the river and attack the open quarter 
of the town at daybreak. But on this, as 
in the case of the fleet of La Bourdonnais, 
the turbulence of the elements preserved 
the English from the assault of their 
foes : the wind rose, and the raging surf 
forbade the prosecution of the hostile enter- 

Dupleix, finding that he could not expect 
to cope successfully with the united strength 
of the nabob and the English, directed 
all his powers of intrigue and cajolery to 
break off their alliance ; and at length suc- 
ceeded, by exaggerated representations of 
the accessions of force received and ex- 
pected by the French, in inducing the vacil- 
lating nabob to forsake the garrison of Fort 
St. David, who were described as a con- 
temptible handful of men, abandoned even 
by their own countrymen to destruction. 
The falsity of this last assertion was proved 
at a critical moment; for just as a French 
force had succeeded in overcoming the re- 
sistance offered to their crossing the river, 
and were marching on the apparently de- 
voted town, an English fleet was seen ap- 
proaching the roadstead, upon which the 
assailants hastily recrossed the river and 
returned to Pondicherry. 

In January, 1748, Major Lawrence arrived 
in India with authority over the whole of 
the company's forces. In the following 
year, the addition of a squadron dis- 
patched under the command of Admiral 
Boscawen,* rendered their fleet more for- 
midable, than any previously assembled by 
a single European power in India. Dupleix 
trembled; the nabob would, he feared, again 
change sides, so soon as the superior strength 
of the enemy should be manifest, and the 
French settlements be cut off from supplies 
both by sea and land. The English, on 
their part, hurried on the operations of 

* Consisting of ten ships of the royal navy, and 
eleven belonging to the company, carrying stores, 
and troops to the amount of 1,400 men. 



Boscawen, nothing doubting by the capture 
of Pondicherry, to retaliate the heavy sacri- 
fice attendant on the loss of Madras.* Their 
expectations were disappointed. Major Law- 
rence was taken prisoner during the assault 
of the little fort of Ariancopang, two miles 
to the south-west of Pondicherry ; and when, 
after much valuable time spent in acquiring 
and occupying this position, the admiral ad- 
vanced upon the city, ignorance of the loca- 
lity, disease in the camp, and probably also 
the unfitness of the brave and active sea- 
captain to direct the complicated proceed- 
ings of a land attack, resulted in the raising 
of the siege by the fiat of a council of war, 
assembled thirty-one days after the opening 
of the trenches. The rejoicings of Dupleix 
at this unlooked-for triumph, were, as might 
be expected, boastful in the extreme. He 
sent letters to the different neighbouring 
rulers, and even to the Great Mogul him- 
self, informing them of the formidable 
assault which he had repulsed, and received 
in return high compliments on his prowess 
and on the militai*y genius of his nation, which 
was now generally regarded as far superior 
to that of the English. His schemes were, 
however, contravened by a clause in the 
treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, in which the 
French government agreed to restore Ma- 
dras ; and this stipulation was enforced, 
notwithstanding the expense incurred by him 
in strengthening a possession obtained by a 
glaring breach of faith. On reoccupying 
their ancient settlement, the English like- 
wise established themselves at St. Thomas, 
or Meliapoor, a town mostly inhabited by 
the descendants of the ancient Christians, 
whom the imperious Portuguese archbishop 
and viceroy Menezes had, with the aid of 
" the Holy Inquisition," brought into com- 
pulsory submission to the Romish pontiff. 
Since then it had sunk into obscurity, and 
would hardly have excited the notice of any 
European power, had not its position with 
regard to Madras, from which it was but 
four miles distant, enabled the ever-intrigu- 
ing Dupleix to gain from the Romish priests 
much important information regarding the 
state of that settlement. St. Thomas was 
therefore occupied by the English, and the 
obnoxious portion of the inhabitants ordered 
to withdraw. 

While these events were taking place in 
the Madras presidency, that of Bombay, 

* That event entailed a loss of £180,000 on the 
company. — (Auber's British Power in India, i., 48.) 

f Mill's British India, iii., 83, (edited by Wilson.) 

■J: At Surat, for instance, in addition to the fixed 

and the inferior but independent one of 
Calcutta, enjoyed tranquillity. Ali Verdi 
Khan, the viceroy of Bengal, had con- 
sistently maintained the determination at 
first expressed by Anwar-oo-deen, in the 
Carnatic, of compelling the hostile nations to 
keep the peace in his dominions. At the 
same time he exacted from both parties con- 
tributions, in return for the protection which 
he bestowed. The sums demanded from 
the English are stated f as not exceeding 
£100,000, which, considering the heavy ex- 
penses incurred in repelling Mahratta in- 
roads, cannot be deemed immoderate. 

The restoration of peace between their 
respective governments left the servants of 
the rival companies in India no pretence 
for continuing hostilities on any national 
ground. But extensive military prepara- 
tions had been made : nothing but a casus 
belli was wanting; and it was not to be 
supposed that the commanders of consider- 
able bodies of troops, who, having been 
levied, must be paid and fed, would wil- 
lingly keep them in idleness for so slight 
a reason. The quarrels of neighbouring 
states afforded a ready pretext for armed 
interference, and offered to both Erench 
and English the immediate advantage of 
remunerative employment for spare force, 
together with the prospect of establishing 
a degree of independent, if not paramount 
authority, which might enable the factories 
to withhold the large sums it had been 
heretofore found necessary to pay to local 
officials, in order to secure the enjoyment 
of the privileges conceded by imperial 
firmauns.J Neither party showed much 
anxiety about the character or claims of the 
candidates under whose banners they took 
post, the scarcely disguised motive being — 
how best to serve themselves and weaken 
their rivals. Indeed, at this period, power 
in the Deccan had so greatly fallen into the 
hands of usurpers, that had the Europeans 
really desired to support no pretensions 
save such as were strictly legitimate, they 
must have commenced by setting aside 
almost the whole of the claimants who now 
pressed upon their notice. But this ad- 
mission cannot exculpate the English from 
the heavy charge of indiscretion and vena- 
lity — in first unsheathing the sword against 
a sovereign with whom they had long carried 
on a friendly correspondence, and then suffer- 
custom dues of 3| per cent., no less a sum than 
1,365,450 rupees are stated, in the records of the 
E. I. Company, as having been paid from 1661 ta 
1683, simply to facilitate business. 


ing themselves to be bought off from the 
cause they had unsuccessfully advocated. 
The case was simply this : Syajee, the 
ex-rajah of Tanjore (see p. 252), craved their 
assistance to regain the throne from which he 
had been driven by his half-brother, Pertab 
Sing. He declared that the people were well- 
affected towards him, and promised, in the 
event of success, to bestow upon the English 
the territory of Devicotta — a position ren- 
dered valuable by its proximity to the mouth 
of the river Coleroon, which was considered 
to offer advantages, as a harbour, beyond any 
other situation between Masulipatam and 
Cape Comorin. His solicitations produced 
two attempts for the invasion of Tanjore. 
The first by Captain Cope, undertaken 
with a view to the re-establishment of 
Syajee, proved a complete failure. The 
second, led by Major Lawrence, succeeded in 
the object for which it was expressly de- 
signed — the capture <. f Devicotta— owing, 
under Providence, to the ingenuity and 
dauntless bravery of a common ship's carpen- 
ter* and — Lieutenant Robert Give. This 
name, destined to stand first in a long line 
of Anglo-Indian conquerors, was then borne 
by a young man whose previous career 
afforded small promise of usefulness, though 
fraught with evidences of misdirected energy. 

Some twelve years before the siege of Devi- 
cotta, the inhabitants of Market-Drayton, 
Shropshire, had viewed with terror the 
exploits of the audacious son of a neigh- 
bouring squire.j On one occasion they 
beheld the daring boy climb the lofty 
church steeple, and quietly take his seat 
on a projecting stone spout near the summit, 
fashioned in the form of a dragon's head, 
from whence he desired to obtain a smooth 
stone, for the pleasure of flinging it to the 
ground. At home the youth was noted for 
an immoderate love of fighting, and for a 
fierce and imperious temper; out of doors 
he displayed the same propensities by form- 
ing the idle iads of the town into a preda- 
tory army, and extorting a tribute of pence 
and trifling articles from the shopkeepers, 
guaranteeing them, in return, from broken 

* The fort of Devicotta was situated on a marshy 
shore covered with wood, and surrounded by the 
Tanjore army. The English batteries were erected 
on the opposite side of the river, and after three 
days' firing a breach was effected ; but before ad- 
vantage could be taken of it, a broad and rapid 
stream had to be crossed in the face of the 
enemy. This was done by means of a raft, sufficient 
to contain 400 men, constructed by the carpenter, 
John Moore. The last difficulty — how to get the raft 

windows and the effects of other mis- 
chievous tricks. The character of an ex- 
ceedingly naughty boy accompanied Bob 
Clive from school to school, including the 
celebrated London seminary of the Mer- 
chant Taylor's Company. One of his early 
masters, it is said, had the sagacity to 
prophesy that the self-willed, iron-nerved 
child would, if he lived to be a man, and 
had opportunity to exert his talents, make a 
great figure in the world ; but this was an 
exception to the general opinion formed of 
his slender parts and headstrong temper; 
and his family, seeing no good prospect for 
him at home, procured for the lad, when in 
his eighteenth year, a writership in the ser- 
vice of the E. I. Company, and " shipped him 
off, to make a fortune or to die of a fever." J 
For some time after the arrival of Clive 
at Madras, the former alternative appeared 
highly improbable. The ship in which he 
sailed was detained for nine months at the 
Brazils, and the young writer expended all 
his ready-money, but picked up, in return, 
a knowledge of the Portuguese language, 
which proved useful to him in after-life. 
The salaries of the junior servants were 
then barely sufficient for their maintenance. 
Clive, who it may be readily imagined was 
no economist, soon became involved in 
debt; and this circumstance, combined with 
his isolated position and uncongenial em- 
ployment (in superintending the taking of 
stock, making advances to weavers, shipping 
cargoes, and guarding the monopoly of his 
employers against the encroachments of pri- 
vate traders), aggravated by the depressing 
influence of a tropical climate, so affected 
a mind unsupported by religious prin- 
ciple, that the rash youth, in one of the 
wayward, moody fits to which he was all his 
life subject, made an ineffectual attempt 
at self-destruction. A fellow-clerk entered 
his room (in Writers'-buildings) imme- 
diately after, and was requested to take up 
a pistol which lay at hand, and fire it out 
of the window. He did so ; and Clive 
sprang up, exclaiming—" Well, I am re- 
served for something; that pistol I have 

across — he removed by swimming the stream by 
night and fastening a rope to a tree, unperceived by 
the foe, whose attention was diverted from the spot 
by the well-directed manoeuvres of the artillery. The 
troops were disembarked on the opposite bank. 

f A landed proprietor, who practised the law, and 
resided on a small estate which had been enjoyed 
by his family since the twelfth century. 

% T. B. Macaulay's brilliant critique on Malcolm's 
Life of Lord Clive. — (Critical and Historical Essays.') 


twice snapped at my own head." * He was 
reserved for many things which the world 
calls great and glorious, and even (by a 
strange perversion of the term) heroic ; but 
his earthly career was not the less destined to 
terminate by the very act which he had 
once been specially held back from accom- 
plishing. That act even worldlings brand 
with the name of moral cowardice ; while be- 
lievers in revealed religion view it as the last 
and deepest offence man can commit against 
his Maker. In the case of Clive, such 
a termination of life was rendered pecu- 
liarly remarkable by his previous frequent 
and extraordinary escapes from perishing 
by violence. 

On the capture of Madras, in 1746, he, 
with others, gave his parole on becoming a 
prisoner of war, not to attempt escape ; but 
the breach of faith committed by Dupleix 
was considered by many of the captives to 
justify their infraction of the pledge given 
to M. de la Bourdonnais ; and Clive fled by 
night to Fort St. David, disguised in dress 
and complexion as a Mussulman. Con- 
tinued hostilities afforded him an opportu- 
nity of quitting the store-room for the camp ; 
and Major Lawrence, perceiving the military 
ability of the young aspirant, gave him an 
ensign's commission, which, after the unsuc- 
cessful attack of Pondicherry, in 1748, was 
exchanged for that of a lieutenant. At De- 
vicotta he was, at his own solicitation, 
suffered to lead a storming party, consisting 
of a platoon of thirty-four Europeans and a 
body of sepoys. Of the Europeans only 
four survived ; but the determination of their 
leader, and the orderly advance of the se- 
poys, checked the opposition of the Tanjore 
horse, and gave the signal for the advance of 
Major Lawrence with his whole strength, 
which was speedily followed by the capture 
of the fort. 

A treaty of peace was soon entered into 
with the rajah, Pertab Sing, by which the 
English were guaranteed in the possession 
of Devicotta, with a territory of the annual 
value of 9,000 pagodas, on condition of 
their renouncing the cause of Syajee, and 
guaranteeing to secure his person so as to 

* Sir John Malcolm states, that in 1749, three 
years after this event, Clive had a severe attack of 
nervous fever, which rendered necessary " the con- 
stant presence of an attendant ;" and he adds, that 
even after his recovery, " the oppression on his spirits 
frequently returned." — (Memoirs, i., pp. 69-70.) 

t Madame Dupleix is described in the Life of 
Clive as a Creole, born and educated in Bengal ; but 
her parentage is not stated. The Christian name 

prevent any further attempts on the throne of 
his brother — a service for which 4,000 rupees, 
or about £400, were to be paid annually. 
The English had been completely misled 
by the statements of Syajee respecting his 
prospects of success ; but still, this treatment 
of a person whom they had been endea- 
vouring to re-establish as a legitimate ruler, 
was highly discreditable. It is even said, 
that the unfortunate prince would have been 
delivered into the hands of his enemies, but 
for the lively remonstrances of Admiral Bos- 
cawen. As it was, he found means to make 
his escape, though not to recover his throne. 

In the meantime the French were engaged 
in transactions of more importance. They 
had far higher objects in view than any 
yet aimed at by the English, and their 
plans were more deeply laid. Dupleix, by 
means of his wife,t had obtained considerable 
acquaintance with the intrigues of various 
Mussulman and Hindoo princes ; and this 
knowledge had afforded him material assist- 
ance on more than one occasion. The 
disturbed state of the Carnatic now offered 
a favourable opening for his ambition. The 
protracted life of the old nizam was fast 
approaching its termination ; and the nomi- 
nal viceroyalty, but actual sovereignty, of 
the Mogul provinces in the Deccan would, 
it was easy to forsee, speedily become an 
object of contest to his five sons. The 
cause of Anwar-oo-deen, himself almost a 
centenarian, would not therefore be likely 
to meet with efficient support from his 
legitimate superiors ; while among the people 
a very strong desire existed for the restora- 
tion of the family of Sadut Oollah. The 
natural heir was the remaining son of Sufder 
Ali, but his tender age forbade the idea of 
placing him at the head of a confederacy 
which needed a skilful and determined 
leader. Murtezza Ali (governor of Vellore), 
though wealthy and powerful, was deemed 
too treacherous and too cowardly to be 
trusted. The only relative possessed of 
sufficient reputation, as a general, to direct 
an attempt for the subversion of the power 
of Anwar-oo-deen, was Chunda Sahib. 
The utter absence of principle manifested 

Jeanne, she converted into the Persian appella- 
tion of Jan Begum (the princess Jeanne.) Her 
intimate acquaintance with the native languages, 
joined to a talent for intrigue little inferior to that 
of Dupleix himself, enabled her to establish a very 
efficient system of "espionage." At the time of the 
French capture of Madras, and the attempts on Fort 
St. David by the English, the Indian interpreter 
was found to have carried on a regular correspondence 


in his seizure of Trichinopoly,* did not pre- 
vent him from being "esteemed the ablest 
soldier that had of late years appeared in 
the Carnatic/'f uniting in every military 
enterprise, " the spirit of a volunteer with 
the liberality of a prince."! On him Dupleix 
had early fixed his eyes as a fit coadjutor; 
and throughout his protracted imprison- 
ment at Sattara, had contrived to keep up 
an intimate connexion with him, through 
the medium of his wife and family, who 
had taken refuge in Pondicherry — Madame 
Dupleix acting as interpreter; and at the 
same time corresponding, in the name of 
her husband, with various chiefs likely to 
prove useful in the coming struggle. At 
length all things seemed ripe for the enter- 
prise. Through the intervention of Dupleix, 
the release of Chunda Sahib was effected in 
the early part of the year 1748, by means 
of a ransom of seven lacs of rupees 
(£70,000.) The nizam died shortly after ; 
and notwithstanding the prior claims of his 
numerous sons, another competitor for the 
succession arose in the person of a grand- 
son, the child of a favourite daughter. 
With the young adventurer (generally known 
by his title of Moozuffer Jung),§ Chunda 
Sahib hastened to form an alliance, and in- 
duced him to commence operations in the 
Carnatic. Dupleix assisted the confederates 
with a body of 400 Europeans, 100 Kafirs, 
and 1,800 sepoys; and French valour and 
discipline mainly contributed to bring the 
storming of Amboor (a fort fifty miles west of 
Ai'cot) to a successful issue. Anwar-oo-deen 
was slain at the extraordinary age of 107 lunar 
years; his eldest son taken prisoner; and 
his second son, Mohammed Ali, with the 
wreck of the army, escaped to Trichinopoly, of 
which place he was governor. The victorious 
leaders marched in triumph to Arcot, and 
then to Pondicherry, from whence (after in- 
creasing the limits and revenues of that set- 
tlement by the grant of eighty-one villages) 
they proceeded against Tanjore. It would 
have been unquestionably better policy to 
have advanced at once upon Trichinopoly; 

with Madame Dupleix in the Malabar tongue. He 
and a Hindoo accomplice were tried, found guilty, 
and hanged. — (Malcolm's dive, i., 21 ; Orme's Mili- 
tary Transactions, i., 88.) 

* See p. 252. In addition to the facts already 
stated, it may be noticed, as enhancing the perfidy of 
Chunda Sahib, that one means adopted by him to set 
aside any misgivings on the part of the ranee of 
Trichinopoly, was by swearing that his troops, if 
secretly admitted within the citadel, should be em- 
ployed solely for the confirmation of her authority. 

but supplies of money were urgently needed, 
and the known wealth of the rajah of Tan- 
jore would, it was believed, compensate for 
the delay. The Tanjorine proved more than 
a match for his enemies in cunning, though 
inferior to them in force. Although at 
length compelled to pay a certain sum, 
claimed as arrears of tribute to the Mogul 
empire, and likewise iu compensation for 
the expenses incurred in attacking him, the 
rajah continued to procrastinate in every 
possible manner, — one day sending, as part of 
the stipulated contribution, old and obsolete 
coins, such as he knew required long and 
tedious examination; another time, jewels 
and precious stones, the value of which it 
was still more difficult to determine. Chunda 
Sahib saw the drift of these artifices ; but the 
want of funds induced him to bear with them 
until the end of the year (1749) arrived, and 
with it intelligence of the approach of a con- 
siderable army under the command of Nazir 
Jung, || the second son of the late nizam. 

The allies, struck with consternation, pre- 
cipitately retreated to Pondicherry, harassed 
by a body of Mahrattas. Dupleix exerted all 
his energies to reanimate their spirits ; lent 
them £50,000, and increased the French 
contingent to 2,000 Europeans ; but, doubt- 
ing greatly the ultimate success of the cause 
which he had so sedulously promoted, he 
sought to be prepared for any turn of cir- 
cumstances, by opening a secret communica- 
tion with Nazir Jung. In this treacherous 
attempt he failed, the prince having pre- 
viously formed an alliance with the English.^ 

On hearing of the defeat and death of 
Anwar-oo-deen, Nazir Jung had marched 
towards the Carnatic, where he was speedily 
joined by Mohammed Ali, son of the late 
nabob, and at the same time he sent to ask 
assistance from the English at Fort St. 
David. They were already filled with 
alarm at the part taken by the French in 
the recent hostilities, but possessed no 
authority from the Court of Directors to 
engage anew in the perils and expenses of 
any military undertaking. The result of 

This false oath he took on a false Koran — that is, on 
a brick enveloped in one of the splendid coverings 
used by Mohammedans to wrap round the volume 
they revere as divinely inspired. — (Colonel Wilks' 
History of Mysoor, i., 250.) 

f Orme's Military Transactions, i., 119. 

\ Wilks' History of Mysoor, i., 250. 

§ Victorious in War. || Triumphant in War. 

^[ Vide "Vindication," entitled Memoir ■« pour Du- 
pleix ; also Memoire contre Dupleix, published by the 
directory of the Fr. E. I. Cy.; quoted by Mill, iii., 105. 


the Tanjore enterprise was not encouraging ; 
the attempt to reinstate Syajee had proved 
a complete failure; and Pertab Sing, by the 
cession of- Devicotta, had bought them off, 
as he might have done a body of Mahrattas, 
— not so much from fear of their power, as 
because he expected a more dangerous as- 
sault on the side of Chunda Sahib and the 
French. It was evidently no honest desire 
for peace which dictated the miserable half 
measures adopted by the Madras presidency. 
Although Admiral Boscawen offered to re- 
main if his presence should be formally de- 
manded, he was suffered to depart with the 
fleet and troops. A force of 120 Europeans 
was sent to Mohammed Ali ; and the report 
of the powerful army and extensive re- 
sources * of Nazir Jung induced them to 
send Major Lawrence, with 600 Europeans, 
to fight under so promising a standard. The 
rival armies, with their respective European 
allies, approached within skirmishing dis- 
tance of one another, and an engagement 
seemed close at hand, when thirteen French 
officers, discontented with the remuneration 
they had received for the attack on Tanjore, 
threw up their commissions ; and M. d' Auteuil, 
panic-struck by this mutinous conduct, re- 
treated, with the remainder of the troops 
under his command, to Pondicherry, accom- 
panied by Chunda Sahib, while Moozuffer 
Jung,f having received the most solemn as- 
surances of good treatment, threw himself 
upon the mercy of his uncle, by whom he 
was immediately placed in irons. 

Nazir Jung, relieved from immediate 
peril, took no thought for the future ; but 
at once resigned his whole time to the plea- 
sures of the harem and the chase. The only 

* Nazir Jung was at Boorhanpoor, in command of 
the army, at the time of the death of his father : this 
circumstance favoured his attempt at becoming su- 
bahdar of the Deccan, to the exclusion of his eldest 
brother, Ghazi-oo-deen, who, he asserted, had freely 
resigned his pretensions, being satisfied with the im- 
portant position he held in the court of Delhi — a 
statement which was wholly false. Ghazi-oo-deen 
was by no means inclined to make any such renuncia- 
tion, and had in justice nothing to renounce, the 
government of the southern provinces being still, at 
least in form, an appointment in the gift of the em- 
peror. Mohammed Ali's claim to the government of 
the Carnatic (urged, in the first instance, to the exclu- 
sion of his elder brother, the only legitimate son of 
Anwaivoo-deen) was based on the bare grounds that 
Nizam-ool-Moolk had promised, and Nazir Jung 
would confirm to him the possession of a patrimony 
which had been in his family just five years. This 
was the " rightful cause" maintained by English 
valour in the field, and contended for, in many 
volumes of political controversy, during a prolonged 
paper warfare. The French, on their part, upheld 
2 M 


rival he feared (Ghazi-oo-deen) was fully 
employed in the intrigues of the Delhi court ; 
the other three brothers were held in close 
confinement at Arcot; and the indolent 
prince, in the haughtiness of imaginary 
security, treated with disdain the claims of 
those who had joined him in the hour of 
danger. The experience of past time might 
have borne witness that Mogul rulers had 
seldom offended their turbulent Patau fol- 
lowers with impunity ; yet Nazir Jung now 
behaved towards his father's old officers (the 
nabobs of Kudapa, Kurnoul, and Savanoor) 
as if they had been mere feudatories, who 
as a matter of course had rallied around his 
standard, instead of what they undoubtedly 
were — adventurers who had hazarded their 
lives for the chance of bettering their for- 
tunes. The expectations of the English 
were equally disappointed by the refusal of 
a tract of territory near Madras, the pro- 
mised reward of their assistance; and Major 
Lawrence quitted the camp in disgust. 
Dupleix and Chunda Sahib soon learned the 
state of affairs, and hastened to take ad- 
vantage of it both by force and stratagem. 
Masulipatam and the pagoda of Trivadi (fif- 
teen miles west of Fort St. David) were cap- 
tured ; the fort of Jinjee, deemed almost in- 
accessible, was attacked by the famous 
French commander Bussy, and the huge 
insulated rock on which it stands, stormed 
to the very summit. The boldness of the 
attempt, and especially its being commenced 
at midnight, seems to have paralysed the 
energies of its superstitious, defenders ; and 
even the victors, in contemplating the natural 
strength of the place, were astonished at 
their success. Nazir Jung alarmed, entered 

with all the zeal of self-interest, both with the sword 
and the pen, the claims of the rival candidates. 
The pretensions of Moozuffer Jung rested on the will 
of his grandfather, which his adversaries declared to 
be a forgery ; but if a veritable document, it was un- 
lawful as regarded the emperor, and unjust in setting 
aside the natural heirs. The sole plea urged by 
Chunda Sahib, was the will of Moozuffer Jung that he 
should be nabob. The fact was, neither English nor 
French had any justification for interference in hostili- 
ties which were mere trials of strength among bands of 
Mohammedan usurpers; and the subsequent conduct 
of both parties in setting up pageants, because it was 
inexpedient for them to appear as principals, is 
nothing more than an additional proof that politicians, 
as a class, agree everywhere in receiving diplomacy 
and duplicity as convertible terms, maintaining, how- 
ever, as much as possible, the semblance of honesty 
in deference to the feeling which our Creator seems 
to have implanted in the mind of almost every com- 
munity — that the public safety is intimately connected 
with the integrity of those who bear rule. 

f This name is sometimes mis-spelt Mirzapha. 


into negotiations with Dupleix. The French 
deputies used their admission to his camp as 
a means of treacherously intriguing with the 
disaffected nobles. Major Lawrence heard 
of the conspiracy, and endeavoured to convey 
a warning to the subahdar at a public au- 
dience ; but the interpreter employed dared 
not venture a declaration which might cost 
him his life, and the important information 
was withheld from fear of the vizier, who 
was falsely reported to be involved in the plot. 
The etiquette which prevented any direct 
communication with the subahdar, either 
verbally or by writing, is given as a sufficient 
reason for no determined effort to that effect 
having been made.* Nazir Jung continued, 
to the last moment, utterly unsuspicious of 
danger. He ratified the treaty with the 
French, and sent it to Pondicherry. They 
advanced against him from Jinjee the very 
next day; and the prince, while manfully 
striving to animate his troops to repel what 
he termed " the mad attempt of a parcel of 
drunken Europeans," f was shot through 
the heart by the nabob of Kudapa. The 
army learned the fate of their late ruler by 
the sight of his head fixed on a pole, and 
were with little difficulty induced to transfer 
their services to his nephew Moozuffer Jung, 
who now, released from captivity, became 
the gaoler of his three uncles. Dupleix was 
appointed governor of the Mogul possessions 
on the coast of Coromandel, from the river 
Kristna toCapeComorin, J andChunda Sahib 
his deputy at Arcot. The installation of the 
subahdar was performed at Pondicherry 
with much pomp. Salutes were fired from 
the batteries, and Te Deum sung in the 
churches. Dupleix, dressed in the garb of a 
Mussulman of the highest rank, entered the 
city in the same palanquin with Moozuffer 
Jung; and, in the pageant which followed, 
took precedence of every other noble. The 
rank of a munsubdar of 7,000 horse was con- 
ferred upon him, with permission to bear on 
his banners the insignia of "the fish"§ — a dis- 
tinction among the Moguls equivalent to the 
coveted " blue ribbon" of the English court. 
Honours and emoluments could be obtained 
only by his intervention: the new ruler would 

* Major Lawrence perhaps disbelieved the report, 
otherwise his conduct was supine and neglectful. 

t Orme's Military Transactions, i., 156. 

\ Masulipatam and its dependencies were ceded 
to the French E. I. Cy., with other territories, valued 
by them at £38,000 per ann., but, according to 
Orme.. the revenues were considerably overstated. 

§ The Mahi, or figure of a fish four feet long, in 
copper-gilt, carried on the point of a spear. 

not even peruse a petition, unless indorsed 
by the hand of Dupleix. 

The triumph of the ambitious Frenchman, 
though brilliant, was soon disturbed. The 
chiefs, by whose perfidy the revolution had 
been accomplished, demanded the fulfilment 
of the extravagant promises made to them 
while the prince, now on the throne, lay 
bound in fetters. Dupleix endeavoured to 
bring about an arrangement; and, as an 
incitement to moderation, affected to relin- 
quish all claim to share in the treasure 
seized upon the assassination of Nazir Jung, 
notwithstanding which he received no less 
than £200,000 in money, besides many va- 
luable jewels. || The offers made to the tur- 
bulent nobles were, however, so very large, 
that if (as would appear) really accepted and 
carried out, it is difficult to account for the 
rapidity with which they again broke forth 
into open revolt.^" After lulling all suspicions 
by a semblance of contentment, accompanied 
by oaths of allegiance sworn on the Koran, 
the chiefs watched their opportunity ; and, 
during the march of the army to Golconda, 
suddenly took possession of an important 
pass, and, supported by their numerous fol- 
lowers, opposed the advancing force. The 
steady fire of the French artillery soon cleared 
the way; but Moozuffer Jung, furious at find- 
ing himself menaced with the fate of his 
uncle, by the same double-dyed traitors, 
rushed upon the peril he had nearly escaped, 
by distancing his attendants in a reckless 
pursuit of the fugitive nabob of Kurnoul, 
whom he overtook and challenged to single 
combat. The elephants were driven close to 
each other; and the sword of Moozuffer 
Jung was uplifted to strike, when the javelin 
of his opponent pierced his brain. A moment 
later, and the victor was surrounded and cut 
to pieces : one of his fellow-conspirators had 
already perished in a similar manner ; the 
third quitted the field mortally wounded. 

What were the French to do now for a 
puppet adapted by circumstances for the part 
of subahdar ? No time could be spared for 
deliberation : a few hours, and the hetero- 
geneous multitudes of which Indian armies 
consist, would, under their respective leaders, 

|| Moozuffer Jung distributed £50,000 among the 
officers and men engaged at Jinjee, and paid an 
equal sum into the treasury of the French company, 
in compensation for the expenses of the war. 

^[ Orme asserts, that besides various minor con- 
cessions, the Patan nobles were promised by Dupleix 
one-half the money found in the treasury of Nazir 
Jung, which, in a subsequent page, is stated at two 
million sterling. — {Military Transactions, i., 160-'2.) 


after dividing the spoil of their late master, 
disperse in search of a new paymaster ; and, 
with them, would vanish the advantages 
gained by the murder of Nazir J ung. Bussy, 
the commander-in-chief, was no less bold 
and ready-witted than the absent Dupleix, 
and his unhesitating decision exactly met the 
circumstances of the case. The three uncles 
of the newly-deceased subahdar were in the 
camp, having been carried about as prisoners 
in the train of their nephew, lest some con- 
spiracy should be formed in their favour if 
separated from his immediate superintend- 
ence. In other words, it was convenient to 
keep within reach all persons whose dan- 
gerous consanguinity to the reigning prince 
might incite an attempt for the transfer of 
the crown; such an endeavour being best 
frustrated by cutting off the head for which 
the perilous distinction was designed. Moo- 
zuffer Jung left an infant son, whose claims 
on the gratitude of the French were after- 
wards recognised by Bussy,* though he set 
aside the title of the boy to sovereignty, and 
releasing the captive princes, proclaimed the 
eldest, Salabut J ung, viceroy of the Deccan. 
The army acquiesced in the arrangement, and 
proceeded quietly on the road to Golconda. 
Dupleix, on learning the late events, ad- 
dressed the warmest congratulations to Sa- 
labut Jung, who, besides confirming the ces- 
sions of his predecessor, bestowed additional 
advantages on his new friends. 

The English watched with amazement the 
progress of the French, but without any 
efforts at counteraction. From some unex- 
plained cause, Major Lawrence, the com- 
mander of the troops, on whose character 
and experience the strongest reliance was 
placed in all military affairs, returned to 
England at the very time his services were 
most likely to be needed. The Madras pre- 
sidency desired peace at almost any sacrifice, 
and united with Mohammed Ali in offering 
to acknowledge Chunda Sahib nabob of all 
the Carnatic, except Trichinopoly and its 
dependencies. The French, borne on the 
tide of victory, rejected these overtures; and 
the English, stung by the contemptuous 
tone adopted towards them, combined with 
Mohammed Ali to oppose their united foes. 
The opening of the campaign was not merely 
unfortunate, it was (in the words of Major 
Lawrence) disgraceful : " a fatal spirit of 
* The stronghold of Adorn, with its dependencies, 
which had been the original jaghire of the father, 
were given to the son, with the addition of the terri- 
tories formerly possessed by the treacherous nabobs 
of Kurnoul and Kudapa. — (Orme, i., 249.) 

division" prevailed among the officers, and 
the Europeans fled before the force of 
Chunda Sahib, near the fort of Volconda. 
while the native troops maintained the con- 
flict. Driven from one position to another, 
the English and their allies at length sought 
shelter beneath the walls of Trichinopoly. 
The enemy followed them without delay, 
and took post on the opposite side of the 
town, from whence they made some ineffectual 
attempts for the reduction of the place. 

The French had now reached the cul- 
minating point of their power in India : the 
English, their lowest state of depression ; 
yet the latter were soon to ascend an emi- 
nence, to which the position attained by 
their rivals seemed but as a stepping-stone. 
The young adventurer already noticed, was 
selected by Providence as one of the chief 
instruments in the commencement of this 
mighty change. In the interval of peace 
just ended, Clive had been appointed by his 
steady friend, Major Lawrence, commissary 
to the troops, with the rank of captain. 
He was now five-and-twenty, in the full 
strength and vigour of early manhood. The 
present emergency called forth all his powers; 
and, by earnestly representing the necessity 
of some daring attempt to relieve Trichino- 
poly, he succeeded in gaining the consent of 
the Madras presidency to attack Arcot, as a 
probable means of recalling Chunda Sahib to 
his own capital. A little force, consisting 
of eight officers (four of whom were factors 
turned soldiers, like " special constables" for 
the occasion), 200 Europeans and 300 sepoys, 
sallied forth under the leadership of Clive. 
The issue of this daring enterprise was 
awaited by the English with intense anxiety. 
It was no ordinary detachment, sent forth at 
slight hazard to effect a diversion : the men 
by whom it was undertaken were (at least in 
a military point of view) the life-blood of 
Fort St. David and Madras : in the event of 
their being cut off, these settlements would 
be left, the one with only 100, the other 
with less than fifty defenders, against the 
overwhelming strength of the Indo- French 
potentate Dupleix, and his satellites. On 
two previous occasions a fierce and sudden 
tempest had been the destined means of 
preserving the English from the hands of 
their foes. The fleet, assembled by the un- 
flagging zeal of La Bourdonnais, shattered 
and dispersed when bearing down, in the 
pride of power, on the Coromandel coast ; the 
stealthy, midnight assault of Dupleix on Cud- 
dalore arrested by the rising surf ; — these dis- 


pensations were now to be crowned by a third, 
yet more remarkable in its consequences. 

"When Clive and his companions had ad- 
vanced within about ten miles of Arcot, a 
violent storm came on, through which they 
continued their march with the habitual 
bravery of European troops. The native 
garrison, accustomed to regard with super- 
stitious terror the turmoil of the elements, 
learned with astonishment the continued 
advance of their assailants ; and, on be- 
holding them approach the gates of Arcot 
amid pealing thunder, vivid flashes of light- 
ning, and fast-falling rain, panic spread from 
breast to breast : the fort was abandoned, 
and the English, strong in the supposed 
possession of supernatural courage, entered 
it without a blow. The city had neither wails 
nor defences, and no obstruction was offered 
to the few hundred men who passed on 
as conquerors, gazed upon with fear, admi- 
ration, and respect, through streets crowded 
by 100,000 spectators. They took posses- 
sion of the citadel, in which was found a 
large quantity of lead and gunpowder, with 
eight pieces of cannon of small calibre. The 
merchants had, for security, deposited there 
effects to the value of £50,000; but these 
were punctually restored to the owners : and 
"this judicious abstemiousness/' adds Orme, 
" conciliated many of the principal inhabit- 
ants to the English interest. The fort was 
inhabited by 3,000 or 4,000 persons, who, 
at their own request, were permitted to re- 
main in their dwellings." 

There could be little doubt that vigorous 
attempts would be made by Chunda Sahib 
to recover the city which had thus strangely 
slid from his grasp. Clive instantly began 
to collect provisions, to throw up works, and 
to make preparations for sustaining a siege. 
It was a discouraging task, even to a man 
whose genius ever shone most brightly amid 
danger and difficulty. The walls of the fort 
were ruinous ; the ditches dry ; the ramparts 
too narrowto admit the guns; the battlements 
too low to protect the soldiers. The fugitive 
garrison, ashamed of the manner in which 
they had abandoned the place, assembled 
together, and encamped close to the town. 
At dead of night Clive sallied out with 
almost his entire force, attacked the camp, 
slew great numbers, and returned to his 

* Fifteen Europeans perished in a subsequent 
sally against the force of Reza Sahib : amongst these 
was Lieutenant Trenwith, who, perceiving a sepoy 
from a window taking aim at Clive, pulled him aside 
and was himself shot through the body. 

quarters, without having lost a single man.* 
A more dangerous enemy soon appeared, 
consisting of about 10,000 men, including 
150 French from Pondicherry, under the 
command of Reza Sahib, son of Chunda 
Sahib. f The garrison had but a slight pros- 
pect of maintaining its ground against so 
formidable an armament; and certainly the 
retention of Arcot was little less marvellous 
than its conquest, though accomplished by 
wholly different means. In the first instance, 
a scanty force took possession, without effort, 
of a prize unexpectedly placed within their 
reach ; in the latter case, although reduced 
by casualties to 324 in number, they 
showed themselves determined to sacrifice 
even life in its defence. For fifty days the 
assault continued; but the courage of the 
besieged never faltered : they held together 
as one man ; and at length, when food began 
to fail, and was doled out in diminishing 
portions, the sepoys, in their exceeding de- 
votion to their suffering comrades, came in 
a body to Clive, and entreated that all the 
grain in store might be given to the Euro- 
peans who required a nourishing diet, — they 
could subsist on the water in which the rice 
was boiled .% The reputation of the gallant 
defence of Arcot proved the immediate cause 
of its success. An ineffectual attempt at 
succour, on the part of the Madras govern- 
ment, was followed by the approach of 6,000 
Mahrattas, under the famous leader Morari 
Rao. These troops had been enlisted in the 
service of Mohammed Ali, but, deeming his 
cause hopeless, had remained inactive on the 
frontiers of the Carnatic. As a last resource, 
Clive managed to convey to them an earnest 
appeal for succour, and received an imme- 
diate reply from the chief, that, being at 
length convinced the English could fight, he 
would not lose a moment in attempting their 
relief. This circumstance coming to the 
ears of Reza Sahib, he forthwith dispatched 
a flag of truce to the garrison, with offers of 
honourable terms of capitulation, and a large 
sum of money to their commander, as the 
alternative of the instant storming of the 
fort and the slaughter of all its defenders. 
Clive, in rejecting the whole proposition, 
gave vent to his characteristic haughtiness, 
by taunting Reza Sahib with the badness 
of his cause, and the inefficiency of his "rabble 

f Orme calls this leader Rajah Sahib ; Wilks (a 
much better authority in a question of orthography), 

\ This water, called Cunjee, resembles very thin 


force." Thee, having taken all possible mea- 
sures to resist the expected attack, he lay 
down exhausted with fatigue, but was soon 
aroused by the loud uproar of oriental war- 
fare in its most imposing form. 

It was the 14th of November — the period 
allotted to the commemoration of the fearful 
massacre on the plains of Kerbela, in which 
the imaum Hussyn, the grandchild of " the 
prophet," with his whole family and fol- 
lowers, suffered a cruel death at the hands 
of his inveterate foes. The recurrence of 
this solemn festival is usually the signal for 
the renewal of fierce strife, either by words 
or blows, between the Sheiahs and the Son- 
nites, or followers of the caliphs, by whom 
Ali and his children were superseded. The 
Mohammedans engaged in the siege seem to 
have been Sheiahs ; and in the absence of 
any sectarian quarrels, they directed the 
full force of the fanaticism roused by the 
recollection of the tragic catastrophe of 
Kerbela, against the infidel contemners of 
both imaums and caliphs, and even of their 
founder himself. Besides the well-known 
dictum of the Koran — that all who fall 
fighting against unbelievers offer thereby 
a sacrifice (accepted, because completed) for 
the sins of a whole life, and are at once re- 
ceived into the highest heaven, escaping all 
intermediate purgatories — a peculiar blessing 
is supposed to rest on those who perish 
in " holy" warfare during the period con- 
secrated to the memory of the venerated 
imaums.* Stimulating drugs were called 
in to heighten the excitement of the dis- 
courses addressed by the priests ; and in a 
paroxysm of mental and physical intoxica- 
tion, the unwieldy host rushed furiously 
against the gates of Arcot, driving before 
them elephants with massive iron plates on 
thir foreheads. The first shock of these 
living battering-rams was a moment of im- 
minent peril ; but the gates stood firm ; and 
then, as in many previous instances, the 
huge animals, maddened by the musket- 
balls of the foe, became utterly ungovern- 
able, and turning round, trampled down 
hundreds of those who had brought forward 
such dangerous auxiliaries, causing con- 

* The other imaum (Hassan) likewise fell a victim 
to the machinations of the caliph Mauwiyah. — 
{See previous pages, 58 — 62.) 

f Orme states, that but few of these were Euro- 
peans; for most of the French troops were observed 
drawn up and looking on at a distance. — (i., 195.) 

% The personal exertions of Clive were very great. 
Perceiving the gunners taking ineffectual aim at a 
body of the enemy, who were striving to cross on 

fusion throughout their whole ranks. About 
an hour elapsed, during which time three 
desperate onsets were made, and deter- 
minedly resisted; the steady fire of the 
garrison telling fearfully on the shrieking, 
yelling mass beneath. The assailants then 
retired beyond the partially dry moat, with 
the loss of about 400 men,f and requested 
a short truce, that they might bury their 
dead. The English gladly complied : they 
must have needed rest ; for many of them 
being previously disabled by wounds and 
sickness, the labour of repulsing the foe had 
fallen upon eighty Europeans (officers in- 
cluded) and 120 sepoys; and these, besides 
serving five pieces of cannon, had expended 
12,000 musket cartridges during the attack, 
the front ranks being kept constantly sup- 
plied with loaded guns by those behind 
them.J The stipulated interval passed away ; 
the firing recommenced, and continued from 
four in the afternoon until two in the morn- 
ing, when it entirely ceased. The besieged 
passed some anxious hours ; even the four 
or five men they had lost could be ill spared, 
for they expected to find the foe in full force 
at daybreak ; instead of which they beheld 
the town abandoned, and joyfully took pos- 
session of several guns and a large quantity 
of ammunition left behind in the retreat. 

The news of this extraordinary triumph 
was received at Madras with the utmost 
enthusiasm. Mohammed Ali, who now as- 
sumed the privilege once exclusively con- 
fined to the reigning emperor, of bestowing 
titles, called Clive — Sabut Jung (the daring 
in war), a well-earned designation which the 
young soldier bore ever after on his Persian 
seal, and by which he became known 
throughout India. 

A reinforcement of 200 English soldiers 
and 700 sepoys joined Clive a few hours 
after the raising of the siege. Leaving a 
small garrison at Arcot, he set forth in pur- 
suit of Reza Sahib ; and having succeeded 
in effecting a junction with a Mahratta divi- 
sion, overtook the enemy by forced marches, 
and, after a sharp action, gained a complete 
victory. § The military chest of the defeated 
general fell into the hands of the con- 

a raft the water which filled a portion of the ditch, 
he took the management of a piece of artillery him- 
self, and, by three or four vigorous discharges, com- 
peted the abandonment of this attempt. 

§ A gallant exploit was performed on the part of 
the enemy by a sepoy, who, beholding a beloved 
commander fall in the breach, crossed the ditch and 
carried off the body, passing unscathed through tha 
fire if at least forty muskets. — 'Orme, i., 194.) 


querors, 600 of his sepoys joined their ranks, 
and the governor of the neighbouring fort 
of Arnee consented to abandon the cause of 
Chunda Sahib, and recognise the title of 
Mohammed Ali. The great pagoda of Con- 
jeveram, which had been seized and occu- 
pied by the French during the siege of 
Arcot, was regained after a slight struggle.* 
Towards the close of the campaign of 1752, 
Clive was recalled to Fort St. David. On 
the march he arrived at the scene of the 
assassination of Nazir Jung, the chosen site 
of a new town, projected to commemorate 
the successes of the French in the East. 
Dupleix Futtehabad (the city of the victory 
of Dupleix) was the name given to the place ; 
and a stately quadrangular pillar, with in- 
scriptions in various eastern languages, 
recounted the short-lived triumph of the 
ambitious builder. Clive and his followers 
destroyed the newly-raised foundations, 
levelled the column to the ground and went 
their way in triumph, amid the wondering 
natives, who had lately deemed the French 

Notwithstanding the brilliant exploits of 
his allies, the position of Mohammed Ali 
continued extremely precarious : many of 
the strongholds of the province were in 
hostile keeping; and the want of funds 
wherewith to pay the army, daily threatened 
to produce mutiny or desertion. Under 
these circumstances he appealed to the gov- 
ernment of Mysoor, and, by extravagant 
promises in the event of success, prevailed 
upon the regent to send supplies of money 
and soldiers to Trichinopoly. The Mysoorean 

* While reconnoitring the pagoda over a garden 
wall, the companion of Clive, Lieutenant Bulkley, 
was shot through the head close by his side. 

+ A memoir, drawn up by the French E. I. Cy,, 
in answer to one published by Dupleix, accuses him 
of having more than once manifested a deficiency in 
personal courage, and states that he accounted for 
the care with which he kept beyond the range of a 
musket-ball, by declaring that, " le bruit des armes 
suspendait ses reflexions, et que le calme seul con- 
venait a son genie." — (Mill's British India, iii., 83.) 

% Orme's Military Transactions, i., 220. 

§ Some difficulty arose regarding the appointment 
of a junior captain to so important a command ; but 
this obstacle was removed by the express declaration 
of Morari Rao and the Mysooreans — that they would 
take no part in the expedition if dispatched under 
any other leader than the defender of Arcot. — {Id.) 

\\ M. d'Auteuil was dispatched by Dupleix with 
supplies from Pondicherry. Owing to a double mis- 
take on the part of Clive and d'Auteuil, the former 
was led to believe that the information conveyed to 
him regarding the French detachment was incorrect; 
the latter, being informed that the English com- 
mander was absent in pursuit of him, thought to 

troops were 14,000 strong; the Mahrattas, 
under Morari Rao, numbered 6,000 more ; 
and the Tanjore rajah, who had previously 
remained neutral, now sent 5,000 men to 
join the allies. These accessions of strength 
were soon followed by the arrival of Major 
Lawrence (then newly returned from Eu- 
rope), with Clive at his right hand, accom- 
panied by 400 Europeans, 1,100 sepoys, 
eight field-pieces, and a large quantity of 
military stores. Preparations were imme- 
diately made to take the field. Dupleix 
became alarmed at the altered state of affairs. 
As a military commander he had never at- 
tained celebrity, f Bussy was absent in the 
train of Salabut Jung; the remonstrances of 
Chunda Sahib were unheeded; and the 
entire force, although the Carnatic lay open 
before them, took up a position in the forti- 
fied pagoda of Seringham, on an island 
formed by the branches of the Coleroon and 
Cavery. All parties suffered severely from 
the protracted duration of the war. The 
mercantile affairs of the English company 
were extremely distressed by the drain on 
their finances ; and Major Lawrence, believ- 
ing it to be an emergency which justified 
" risking the whole to gain the whole,";}; 
sanctioned the daring proposal of his young 
subaltern — to divide their small force, and 
remaining himself at the head of one portion 
for the protection of Trichinopoly, dispatch 
the other, under the leadership of Clive, § to 
cut off the communication between Sering- 
ham and Pondicherry. Complete success 
attended the measure. || Chunda Sahib be- 
sought M. Law, the commander of the 

take advantage of the slightly-defended British post. 
With this view he sent eighty Europeans and 700 
sepoys. The party included — to the sad disgrace of 
our countrymen — forty English deserters, whose 
familiar speech nearly procured the success of the 
treacherous undertaking. The strangers, on pre- 
tence of being a reinforcement come from Major Law- 
rence, were suffered to pass the outworks without giv- 
ing the pass-word. They proceeded quietly until they 
reached an adjacent pagoda and choultry (place of 
entertainment), where Clive lay sleeping, and there 
answered the challenge of the sentinels by a dis- 
charge of musketry. A ball shattered a box near 
the couch of Clive, and killed a servant close beside 
him. Springing to his feet he rushed out, and was 
twice wounded without being recognised. A despe- 
rate struggle ensued ; the English deserters fought 
like wild beasts at bay. The pagoda was in posses- 
sion of the French, and the attempt to regain it was 
broken off until cannon could be obtained. Clive 
advanced to the porch to offer terms : faint with loss 
of blood, in a stooping posture he leant on two Ser- 
jeants. The leader of the deserters (an Irish- 
man) came forward, addressed Clive in opprobrious 
language (apparently infuriated by some private 


French forces, to make a determined effort 
to shake off the toils fast closing round them; 
but all in vain. Provisions began to fail, 
and men to desert ; at length the personal 
safety of the nabob becoming in evident 
danger, and his constitution rapidly giving 
way under the combined effects of age and 
anxiety, attempts were made to secure his 
escape by intriguing with his foes. Nego- 
tiations were opened with Monajee, the com- 
mander of the Tanjore force, and a large 
sum of money paid to him, in return for 
which he swore " on his sword and dagger" 
to protect the unhappy noble, and convey 
him unharmed to the French settlement of 
Karical. This adjuration a Mahratta rarely 
violates ; but Monajee did so in the present 
instance. His motives are variously stated. 
One eminent writer asserts, on native au- 
thority, that he acted as the instrument of 
Mohammed Ali :* Orme, that his treachery 
originated in the disputes which took place 
in the camp of the allies so soon as the 
arrival of Chunda Sahib became known. 
Fearing that his prize would be snatched 
away, either by the English, the Mysooreans, 
or the Mahrattas for their own ends, he 
settled the dispute by causing the object of 
it to be put to death. The event is still 
regarded by Mohammedans as a remarkable 
manifestation of divine vengeance ; for, in 
the very choultry where, sixteen years be- 
fore, Chunda Sahib, by a false oath, deceived 
the ranee of Trichinopoly, he was now cruelly 
murdered while lying prostrate on the 
ground, broken down by sickness and dis- 
appointment^ The head was sent to Tri- 
chinopoly ; and Mohammed Ali, after gazing 
for the first time on the face of his rival, 
caused it to be exposed in barbarous triumph 
on the walls of the city. The French at 
Seringham J capitulated immediately after 

quarrel), and taking a deliberate aim, fired his mus- 
ket. Clive asserts that the ball killed both his sup- 
porters, -while he remained untouched. The French- 
men disowned any share in the outrage, and surren- 
dered ; the enemy's sepoys were cut to pieces by the 
Mahratta allies of the English. — {Life, 116.) 

* Wilks' History of Mysoor, i.. 284. f Idem, 285. 

J Under M. Law, a nephew of the Scottish schemer. 

§ Yet, from fear of the designs of Nunjeraj and 
Morari Rao, Major Lawrence afterwards suggested 
to the presidency the seizure of their persons. 

|| " We wrote to the King of Mysoor that we were 
merchants, allies to the circar (government), not 
principals."— (Letter from Madras, Nov., ] 752.) The 
Presidency found it as convenient to disavow the 
semblance, while grasping the reality, of power, as 
did the nabob to profess fealty to the emperor : at 
the same time it must be remembered, they were 
M holly ignorant of the pledge given by their ally. 


the above occurrence; and the English, de- 
sirous of continuing their successful career, 
urged the nabob to proceed at once to Jinjee. 
He hesitated, procrastinated, and at length 
confessed that the aid. of the Mysoor go- 
vernment had been obtained by no less a 
bribe than a signed and sealed agreement 
for the cession of Trichinipoly and its de- 
pendencies. Major Lawrence was bitterly 
mortified at finding that the city to which, 
at this period, an importance far above its 
intrinsic value was attached, could not after 
all be retained by the person with whose 
interests those of his countrymen had become 
identified, except by a flagrant breach of 
faith which he honestly pronounced quite 
unjustifiable. § The nabob would not see the 
matter in this light; the Mysooreans, he 
argued, never could expect the fulfilment of 
such an unreasonable stipulation, especially 
while the chief portion of the dominions 
claimed by him as governor of the Carnatic 
still remained to be subdued : abundant re- 
muneration should be made for their valuable 
services ; but, as to surrendering Trichinopoly 
that was out of the question ; for, after all, it 
was not his to give, but only to hold in trust 
for the Great Mogul. This very convenient 
after-thought did not satisfy the Mysooreans. 
Both parties appealed to the Madras pre- 
sidency, and received in return assurances 
of extreme good-will, and recommendations 
to settle the matter amicably with one an- 
other. || Morari Rao, the Mahratta chieftain, 
took a leading part in the discussion which 
followed, and received gifts on both sides; 
but it soon became evident that his impartial 
arbitration, if accepted, was likely to ter- 
minate after the fashion of that of the 
monkey in the fable, — the shells for his 
clients, the oyster for himself ;^[ and at length, 
after much time spent in altercation, the 

51 After the capture of Trichinopoly, in 1741, by 
the Mahrattas, it remained under the charge of Morari 
Rao, until its surrender to the nizam, in 1743. 
Morari Rao, a few years later, managed to establish 
himself in the Bala Ghaut district of Gooty, and be- 
came the leader of a band of mercenaries. By careful 
training and scrupulous exactitude in the stated 
division of plunder, these men were maintained in 
perfect order; and from having frequently encoun- 
tered European troops, could be relied on even to 
withstand the steady fire of artillery. Morari Rao 
and his Mahrattas were, consequently, very important 
auxiliaries, for whose services the English and French 
outbid one another. Wilks remarks, they were "best 
characterised by the Persian compound, Mnft-Khoor 
(eating at other people's expense) : in the present 
case they were acting as subsidiaries to the Mysoor 
force, in the immediate pay of Nunjeraj. — {Mysoor, 
i., 252.) 


nabob, glad of any pretext for gaining time, I 
promised to deliver up tbe fort in two 
months. Nunjeraj (tbe Mysoor general) 
seemingly assented to this arrangement ; but 
so soon as Mohammed AH and Major Law- 
rence had marched off towards Jinjee, he 
commenced intriguing with the English 
garrison for the surrender of the place. The 
attempt afforded the nabob a flimsy pretext 
for avowing his determination to retain pos- 
session. The result was an open breach with 
the Mysooreans and Mahrattas. Dupleix, 
aided as before by the knowledge and in- 
fluence of his wife, entered into communica- 
tion with the offended leaders, and exerted 
every effort to form a powerful confederacy 
against Mohammed Ali and his supporters. 
The chief obstacle to his scheme arose from 
a deficiency of funds and European troops. 
The French company were much poorer 
than the English body ; and their territorial 
revenues formed the only available resource 
for the support of the force at Pondicherry, 
and that maintained by Bussy at Hyderabad : 
little surplus remained for the costly opera- 
tions planned by Dupleix ; but he supplied 
all deficiencies by expending his own princely 
fortune in the cause. The want of trust- 
worthy soldiers was a more irremediable 
defect. The officers sent to India were, for 
the most part, mere boys, whose bravery 
could not compensate for their utter igno- 
rance of their profession ; the men were the 
very refuse of the population.* 

The attempt made by Major Lawrence 
upon Jinjee failed ; but the English cam- 

* Addressing the French minister, in 1753, Du- 
pleix described the recruits sent him as " enfans, 
decroteurs et bandits" * * * " un ramassis de 
la plus vile canaille" and he complained bitterly 
that, with the exception of Bussy, he never had an 
officer on whose ability he could place the smallest 
reliance.— (Mill, edited by Wilson, iii., 130.) 

t The English forces, under Lawrence, were for 
the most part of a very efficient description ; but the 
only detachment which could be spared on this occa- 
sion consisted of 200 recruits, styled by Maeaulay 
" the worst and lowest wretches that the company's 
crimps could pick up in the flash houses of London," 
together with 500 sepoys just levied. So utterly un- 
disciplined were the new-made soldiers, that on at- 
tacking Covelong. the death of one of them by a shot 
from the fort was followed by the immediate flight 
of his companions. On another oocasion a sentinel 
was found, some hours after an engagement, out 
of harm's way at the bottom of a well. Clive, 
nevertheless, succeeded in inspiring these unpromis- 
ing auxiliaries with something of his own spirit; the 
sepoys seconded him to the utmost. Covelong fell ; 
a detachment sent to its relief was surprised by an 
ambuscade, 100 of the enemy were killed by one fire, 
300 taken prisoners, and the remainder pursued to the 

paign of 1752 terminated favourably, with a 
victory gained near Bahoor, two miles from 
Fort St. David, and the capture of the forts 
of Covelong and Chingleput.f These last 
exploits were performed by Clive, who then 
returned to England for his health, carrying 
with him a young bride, an independent 
fortune, and a brilliant military reputation. J 

Early in January, 1753, the rival armies 
again took the field. No decisive action 
occurred ; but in May, Trichinopoly was 
again attacked, and continued, for more than 
a twelvemonth, the scene of active hostility. 
The assailants had not sufficient supe- 
riority to overpower or starve out the gar- 
rison, nor could the English compel them 
to raise the siege. The introduction or 
interception of supplies engaged the un- 
wearied attention of both parties, and many 
severe conflicts occurred, without any deci- 
sive advantage being gained by either. 

Meantime the mercantile associations in 
Europe, and especially in France, grew 
beyond measure impatient at the prolon- 
gation of hostilities. Dupleix, foreseeing the 
unbounded concessions into which the desire 
for peace would hurry his employers, him- 
self opened a negotiation with the Madras 
government, where Mr. Saunders, an able 
and cautious man, presided. The deputies 
met at the neutral Dutch settlement of 
Sadras.§ The question at issue — whether 
Mohammed Ali should or should not be 
acknowledged nabob of the Carnatic, after 
being for four years contested with the 
sword — was now to be weighed in the balance 

gates of Chingleput. The fortress was besieged and 
a breach made, upon which the Trench commandant 
capitulated and retired with the garrison. 

\ Clive married the sister of Maskelyne, the emi- 
nent mathematician, who long held the office of 
Astronomer Royal. The amount of the fortune, 
acquired as prize-money, during the few years 
which had elapsed since he arrived in Madras a 
penniless youth, does not appear ; but it is certain 
that he had sufficient to reclaim, in his own name, 
the family estate, and to extricate his father from 
pecuniary embarrassment, beside what he lavished in 
an extravagant mode of life. Dress, equipages, and 
more than all, a contested election, followed by a 
petition, left Clive, at the expiration of two years, the 
choice between a very limited income or a return to 
India. He took the latter course. The E. I. Cy., on 
his arrival in England, had shown their sense of his 
brilliant exploits by the gift of a sword set with 
diamonds — a mark of honour which, through his in- 
terference, was extended to his early patron and 
stanch friend, Major Lawrence ; and when Clive's 
brief holiday was over, they gladly welcomed him 
back to their service, and procured for him the rank 
of lieut.-col. in the British army. — {Life, i., 131.) 
§ Forty-two miles south of Madras. 


of justice. Dupleix, as the delegate of the 
nizam or suhahdar of the Deccan, claimed 
the right of appointment, which he had 
at different times attempted to bestow upon 
Reza Sahib and Murtezza Ali (of Vellore) ; 
the English continued to plead the cause 
of the candidate they had from the first 
steadily supported : and both the one and 
the other, in the absence of any more 
plausible pretext, reverted to the stale plea 
of imperial authority. Patents and grants 
were produced or talked of, which were re- 
spectively declared by the opposing parties 
forgeries and mere pretences. After eleven 
days' discussion, the proceedings broke off 
with mutual crimination. Dupleix was cen- 
sured (doubtless, with sufficient cause) as 
haughty and overbearing : no arrangement, 
it was asserted, would ever result from dis- 
cussions in which he was allowed to take 
part. The French ministry were glad to 
free themselves of any portion of the blame 
attached to the ill success which had attended 
the arms of the nation in the late contest, 
and to hold the company and its servants 
responsible for all failures. The bold and 
warlike policy of Dupleix had been deemed 
meritorious while successful : his brilliant 
and gainful exploits were, at one time, the 
theme of popular applause ; but now, while 
struggling with unflagging energy against 
the tide of misfortune, his unbounded am- 
bition and overweening self-conceit over- 
looked in prosperity, outweighed the re- 
membrance of zeal, experience, and fidelity 
in the minds of the French Directory, and 
in August, 1754, a new governor-general, 
M. Godheu, arrived at Pondicherry, with 
authority to conclude a peace.* The Eng- 
lish were permitted to retain the services of 
Mr. Saunders and others, well versed in 
local affairs, instead of being compelled to 
trust to commissioners newly arrived from 

* Dupleix immediately returned to France. His 
accounts with the French company showed a dis- 
bursement of nearly £400,000 beyond what he had 
received during the war. This claim was wholly 
set aside, upon the plea that expenses had been in- 
curred without sufficient authority. He commenced 
a law-suit against the company for the recovery of 
monies spent in its behalf; but the royal authority 
was exercised to put a summary stop to these pro- 
ceedings; and all the concession made to Dupleix 
was the grant of letters of protection against the 
prosecution of his creditors — which was nothing 
better than atoning for one injustice by committing 
another. The career of the proud governor — who had 
compelled his own countrymen to kneel before him, 
had threatened to reduce Madras to a mere fishing 
village, and of whom it had been boasted that his 
2 N 

ENGLISH IN INDIA— a.d. 1754. 269 

Europe. The decision arrived at, though 
apparently equally fair for both sides, in- 
volved, on the part of the French, the 
sacrifice of all they had been fighting for. 
One clause of the treaty enacted, that all 
interference in the quarrels of native princes 
should be relinquished; and thus tacitly 
recognised Mohammed Ali as nabob of 
the Carnatic ; another provisof based the 
territorial arrangements of the two nations 
on the principle of equality, and if fulfilled, 
would entail the resignation of the valuable 
provinces called the Northern Circars,J 
lately bestowed on Bussy by Salabut Jung. 
This prince, it is true, was left subahdar of 
the Deccan, but the English had never at- 
tempted to oppose him. Indeed, the sudden 
death (attributed to poison), § of Ghazi-oo- 
deen, the eldest son of the old nizam, when 
approaching at the head of a large army to 
dispute the pretensions of his brother, had 
left Salabut Jung in the position of lineal 
heir, now that the Deccani viceroyalty, like 
that of Bengal, had come to be looked upon 
as an hereditary principality. 

The treaty was infringed as soon as made. 
The English proceeded to reduce to obedi- 
ence to their nabob the districts of Madura 
and Tinnivelly. The French, under Bussy, 
retained the circars, and continued to sup- 
port Salabut Jung. In so doing, they un- 
willingly contributed to relieve Mohammed 
Ali from one of his great difficulties — the 
blockade of Trichinopoly by the Mysooreans. 

Nunjeraj, justly repudiating the right of 
the French to make peace ou his behalf, 
persisted in endeavouring to get possession 
of the fort, until the rumoured approach of a 
body of Mahrattas to levy contributions on 
the Mysoor frontier, and the simultaneous 
advance of Salabut Jung to demand tribute 
in the name of the Mogul, induced him 
suddenly to march homewards, to the infi- 

name was mentioned with fear even in the palace of 
ancient Delhi — terminated sadly enough in disputing 
over the wreck of his fortune, and soliciting au- 
diences in the ante-chamber of his judges. Such at 
least is the account given by Voltaire, who adds em- 
phatically, "II en mourut bientot de chagrin." — 
{Precis du Steele de Louis XIV., ch. xxxix.) 

t "The two companies, English and French, shall 
renounce for ever all Moorish government and dig- 
nity, and shall never interfere in any differences that 
arise between the princes of the country." — (First 
article of Treaty, signed December, 1754.) 

X Namely, Mustaphabad, Ellore, Rajahmundri, and 
Chicacole (anciently Calinga): these additions made 
the French masters of the sea-coast of Coromandel 
and Orissa, in an uninterrupted line of 600 miles. 

§ Prepared by the mother of Nizam Ali. 


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nite relief of the nabob. While the treaty 
was pending, a British squadron with rein- 
forcements had been sent to India, under 
Admiral Watson, and the decided superiority 
thus given to the English probably accele- 
rated the arrangement of affairs. Their 
services were now employed in the sup- 
pression of the systematic piracy carried 
on by the Aiigria family for nearly fifty 
years on the Malabar coast. The peishwa, 
or chief minister of the Mahratta state, 
viewed them in the light of rebellious sub- 
jects, and united with the English for their 
suppression. Early in 1755, the fort of 
Severndroog, and the island of Bancoot, 
were taken by Commodore James ; and in 
the following year, Watson, in co-operation 
with Clive (then just returned from England 
with the appointment of governor of Eort 
St. David), captured Gheria, the principal 
harbour and stronghold of the pirates. 
The English and Mahrattas both coveted 
this position : the tactics of the former 
proved successful. Booty to the amount of 
£150,000 sterling was obtained, and its dis- 
tribution occasioned disputes of a very dis- 
creditable character between the sea and 
land services. The partial biographer of 
Clive endeavours to set forth his hero on 
this, as on other occasions, as generous and 
disinterested ; but few unprejudiced readers 
will be inclined to acquit him of fully 
sharing, what Sir John Malcolm himself 
describes as " that spirit of plunder, and 
that passion for the rapid accumulation of 
wealth, which actuated all ranks." — (i. 135.) 

The scene of Anglo-Indian politics is 
about to change ; the hostilities on the 
Coromandel coast serving but as the pre- 
lude to the more important political trans- 
actions of which the Calcutta presidency 
became the centre. 

War of Bengal. — Ali Verdi Khan, 
subahdar or viceroy of the provinces of 
Bengal, Behar, and Orissa, died in 1756. 
Though in name a delegate of the Mogul 
emperor, he had long been virtually inde- 
pendent, and his power recognised as here- 
ditary. In the absence of any nearer relative, 
this important government devolved on his 
grandson, Mirza Mahmood, a prince better 
known by his title of Surajah Dowlah. 
Ali Verdi had no sons : his three daughters 
married their cousins; and this youth, the 

* Siyar ul Mutakherin, L, 646. 

\ The son of Mohammed Ali made this remark as 
a reason for employing Hindoo officials in preference 
to his feilow-believers, whom, he asserted, were like 

Offspring of one of these alliances, from his 
cradle remarkable for extraordinary beauty, 
became the object of excessive fondness on 
the part of his grandfather. Unrestrained 
indulgence took the place of careful train- 
ing, and deepened the defects of a feeble in- 
tellect and a capricious disposition. To the 
vices incident to the enervating atmosphere 
of a seraglio, he is said to have added a 
tendency for society of the most degrading 
character ; and as few of the courtiers chose 
to risk the displeasure of their future lord, 
with little chance of any effectual inter- 
ference on the part of their present ruler, 
Surajah Dowlah was suffered to carry on a 
career of which even the annals of eastern 
despotism afford few examples. A Mo- 
hammedan writer emphatically declares, 
that " he carried defilement wherever he 
went,"* and became so generally detested, 
that people, on meeting him by chance, 
used to say, " God save us from him \"\ The 
accession to irresponsible power of a youth 
of this character, could not fail to inspire a 
general feeling of apprehension. The Eng- 
lish had special cause for alarm, inasmuch 
as the new ruler entertained strong preju- 
dices in their disfavour. Some authorities 
state that Ali Verdi Khan, shortly before 
his death, had advised his destined successor 
to put down the growing military power of 
this nation; more probably he had urged 
the pursuance of his own gainful and con- 
ciliatory policy of exacting, at different 
times and occasions, certain contributions 
from all European settlements under his 
sway, taking care, at the same time, not to 
drive them into a coalition against his 
authority, or by any exorbitant demand to 
injure his permanent revenues by rendering 
their commerce unremunerative. Policy of 
this character was far beyond the compre- 
hension of Surajah Dowlah. The plodding 
traders of Calcutta were, in his eyes, not as 
in reality agents and factors of a far dis- 
tant association, but men of enormous 
private wealth, like the Hindoo soucars or 
bankers, whom one of his countrymen de- 
clared resembled sponges, which gathered 
all that came in their way, but returned all 
at the first pressure. J This pressure the 
English were now to receive : a pretext was 
easily found. The impending outbreak of 
European war would, it was evident, lead 

sieves — "much of what was poured in, went through." 
—(Malcolm's Life of Lord dive, I, 222.) 

% The owe wife of Ali Verdi lihan steadily befriended 
the English. — (Holwell's Historical Events, p. 176.) 



to hostilities in India : they had, therefore, 
begun to take measures for the defence of 
the presidency. Surajah Dowlah, with 
whom a previous misunderstanding had 
occurred,* sent them an imperative order to 
desist, and received in return a deprecatory 
message, urging the necessity of taking 
measures against French invasion. The 
subahdar, remembering the neutrality en- 
forced by his grandfather, deemed the 
excuse worse than the fault ; and, although 
actually on the march against a rebellious 
relative, he abandoned this object, and 
advanced immediately to the factory at Cos- 
simbazar, which at once surrendered, the 
few Europeans there having no means of 
offering any resistance. The tidings were re- 
ceived at Calcutta with dismay. The defen- 
sive proceedings, which had attracted the 
attention of the subahdar, must have been 
very partial ; for the works, stores of ammu- 
nition, and artillery were all utterly insuffi- 
cient to sustain a protracted siege. The 
garrison comprised 264 men, and the militia, 
formed of European and native inhabitants, 
250 ;f but their training had been so little 
attended to, that when called out, scarcely 
any among them " knew the right from the 
wrong end of their muskets. "J Assistance 
was entreated from the neighbouring Dutch 
settlement of Chinsura, but positively re- 
fused; and, in the urgent necessity of the 
case, the probability of impending warfare 
with the French did not deter the presi- 
dency from appealing to them for aid. The 
reply was an insolent intimation that it 
should be granted if the English would quit 
Calcutta, and remove their garrison and 
effects to Chandernagore ; that is, put them- 
selves completely into the powei of their 
patronising protectors. The last resource 
— an endeavour to purchase immunity from 
Surajah Dowlah — failed, and an attempt at 
resistance followed. The military officers 
on the spot, of whom none ranked higher 
than a captain, were notoriously incompe- 
tent to direct a difficult defence; the civil 
authorities had neither energy nor presence 
of mind to counterbalance the deficiencies 
of their colleagues. To abandon the fort 
and retreat to shipboard was the common 

* An uncle of Surajah Dowlah died governor of 
Dacca. His hopeful nephew at once resolved on 
plundering the widowed begum, or princess his aunt, 
with whom he had long been at open variance, 
of the enormous fortune she was supposed to have 
inherited, and sent orders for the imprisonment of 
the receivers and treasurers of the province : one of 
these — a Hindoo, named Kishendass, supposed to have 

opinion; and, under the circumstances, no 
dishonour would have attended such a 
course, if judiciously carried out. But the 
thunder of the enemy without the walls, 
was less inimical to the safety of the inha- 
bitants than the confusion, riot, and insu- 
bordination within, which, in the words of 
a modern historian, "made the closing 
scene of the siege one of the most dis- 
graceful in which Englishmen were ever 
engaged. 3 ' § The intention of a general 
escape was frustrated by the miserable 
selfishness of those on whom it devolved to 
make arrangements for the safety of the 
whole. The men sent off with the women 
and children refused to return ; and soon 
after the governor and commandant, with a 
select body of cowards, seized the last boats 
which remained at the wharf, and joined 
the ships which, partaking of the general 
panic, had dropped down the river. The 
inhabitants, thus abandoned to the power 
of a despot whose naturally cruel temper 
they believed to be inflamed by a peculiar 
hatred towards themselves, elected Mr. 
Holwell (a member of council) as their 
leader, and for two days continued the de- 
fence of the place, in the hope that some 
of the ships would return to their sta- 
tions and answer the repeated calls for aid 
made by means of fiery signals thrown up 
from all parts of the town. These were in- 
deed little needed, for the continued firing 
of the enemy proclaimed aloud their in- 
creasing danger. Orme, who has minutely 
examined the details of this discreditable 
business, declares, that " a single sloop, 
with fifteen brave men on board, might, in 
spite of all the efforts of the enemy, have 
come up, and, anchoring under the fort, 
have carried away all" those who remained 
to suffer a strange and terrible doom. No 
stronger illustration can be found of the 
manner in which selfishness and the greed 
of gain corrupt and extinguish the gentler 
instincts of humanity, and deprive men even 
of physical courage, than this affair. 

Mr. Holwell strove, by throwing letters 
over the wall, to obtain terms of capitula- 
tion; but in vain. An assault, in which 
ninety-five of the garrison were killed or 

accumulated great wealth — escaped to Calcutta. The 
subahdar sent to demand the fugitive ; but the mes- 
senger entering the town in a sort of disguise, was 
treated by the president as an impostor,_ and dis- 
missed with insult from the company's territory. 

f Making 540 men, 174 being Europeans. 

% Holwell's India Tracts, 302. 

§ Thornton's Bi itioh India, i., 190. 


wounded, was followed by direct insubordi- 
nation on the part of the remainder of the 
common soldiers. They broke open the stores, 
and, all sense of duty lost in intoxication, 
rushed out of one gate of the fort, intending 
to escape to the river, just as the enemy 
entered by another. The inhabitants sur- 
rendered their arms, and the victors re- 
frained from bloodshed. The subahdar, 
notwithstanding his character for inhu- 
manity, showed no signs of it on this occa- 
sion, but took his seat in the chief apartment 
of the factory, and received the grandilo- 
quent addresses of his officers and atten- 
dants with extreme elation ; all angry feel- 
ings being merged in the emotions of grati- 
fied vanity at the victory thus absurdly 
overrated. The smallness of the sum found 
in the treasury (50,000 rupees) was a great 
disappointment ; but when Mr. Hoi well was 
carried into his presence with fettered hands, 
they were immediately set free; and notwith- 
standing some expressions of resentment at 
the English for the defence of the fort, he 
declared, upon the faith of a soldier, not a 
hair of their heads should be touched. The 
conference terminated about seven in the 
evening. Mr. Holwell returned to his com- 
panions in captivity, and the question arose 
how they were to be secured for the night. 
No suitable place could be found ; and while 
the guards were searching about, the pri- 
soners, relieved from fear by the unexpected 
gentleness of Surajah Dowlah, stood in 
groups, conversing together, utterly unsus- 
picious of their impending doom. The chief 
officer returned and announced that the 
only place of security he could find was 
the garrison prison. At this time (before 
the philanthropic labours of Howard) gaols, 
even in England, were loathsome dens ; that 
of Calcutta was a chamber, eighteen feet long 
by fourteen broad, lit and ventilated by two 
small windows, secured by iron bars, and 
overhung by a verandah. Even for a dozen 
European malefactors this dungeon would 
have been insufferably close and narrow. 
The prisoners of the subahdar numbered 
146 persons, including many English, whose 
constitutions could scarcely sustain the 
fierce heat of Bengal in this the summer 
season, even with the aid of every mitigation 
that art could invent or money purchase. 
They derided the idea of being shut up 
in the " Black Hole," as manifestly impos- 

* The detachment on guard had lost many men in 
the siege, and the survivors were merciless. 

f Mr. Holwell and Mr. Cooke, another of the 

HOLE AT CALCUTTA— 1756. 273 

siblc. But the guards, hardened to the 
sight of suffering, and habitually careless of 
life, forced them all (including a half-cast 
woman, who clung to her husband) into the 
cell at the point of the sword, and fastened 
the door upon the helpless crowd. Holwell 
strove, by bribes and entreaties, to persuade 
an old man of some authority among the 
guards, to procure their separation into two 
places. He made some attempts, but re- 
turned, declaring that the subahdar slept, 
and none dared disturb him to request the 
permission, without which no change could 
be made in the disposition of the prisoners. 
The scene which ensued perhaps admits of 
but one comparison in horror — that one 
is the hold of a slave-ship. Some few indi- 
viduals retained consciousness; and after 
hours of agony, surrounded by sights and 
sounds of the most appalling description, 
rendered up their souls tranquilly to their 
Creator and Redeemer, satisfied (we may 
hope), even under so trying a dispensation, 
that the dealings of Providence, though often 
inscrutable, are ever wise and merciful. 
Man, alas ! often evinces little of either 
quality to his fellow-beings ; and in this 
instance, while the captives, maddened by 
the double torment of heat and thirst, fought 
with each other like furious beasts to ap- 
proach the windows, or to obtain a share in 
the pittance of water procui'ed through the 
intervention of the one compassionate sol- 
dier, the other guards held lights to the 
iron bars, and shouted with fiendish laughter 
at the death-struggles of their victims.* 
Towards daybreak the tumult began to 
diminish ; shrieks and groans gave place to 
a low fitful moaning ; a sickly, pestilential 
vapour told the reason — the majority had 
perished : corruption had commenced ; the 
few who remained were sinking fast. The 
fatal sleep of Surajah Dowlah at length 
ceased ; the door was opened by his orders ; 
the dead were piled up in heaps ; and twenty- 
three ghastly figures (including the now 
widowed woman before mentioned) stag- 
gered one by one out of the charnel-house. 
A pit was immediately dug, into which the 
bodies of the murdered men, 123 in number, 
were promiscuously flung. 

No shadow of regret seems to have been 
evinced by the subahdar for this horrible 
catastrophe.f The first flush of exultation 
had passed away, and feelings of pecuniary 

sufferers, gave a painfully interesting account of the 
whole catastrophe before a committee of the House 
of Commons. — {Pari. Papers. E. I. Cy., 1772.) 


disappointment were now uppermost. Hol- 
well, unable to walk, was carried into his pre- 
sence, with some companions, and harshly 
interrogated regarding the treasures of the 
company. No satisfactory answer being ob- 
tained, they were all lodged in miserable 
sheds, fed on grain and water, and left to 
pass as they might the crisis of the fever, in 
which several who lived through the night 
of the 20th June, 1756, perished. The release 
of the survivors was eventually procured by 
the intercession of the grandmother of the 
prince,* and a merchant named Omichund. 

A Moorish garrison of 3,000 men was 
placed in Fort William, and with reckless 
impiety the name of Calcutta changed to 
that of Alinagore (the port of God.) Surajah 
Dowlah then exacted from the Dutch a 
tribute of £45,000, and £35,000 from the 
French ; better terms being accorded to the 
latter, in consideration of their having fur- 
nished 200 chests of gunpowder to the army 
while on their march to Calcutta. 

Tidings of the fall of the settlement and 
the catastrophe of the Black Hole reached 
Madras in August, and were received with a 
general cry for vengeance. Even at such a 
time the old jealousies between the land and 
sea forces interposed to prevent immediate 
action, and two months were spent in dis- 
cussing how the command was to be divided, 
and in what manner prizes were to be dis- 
tributed. At the expiration of that time, 
Clive and Watson sailed from Madras with 
ten ships, having on board 900 European 
troops and 1,500 sepoys. The fugitives 
from Calcutta were found at Fulta, a town 
some distance down the Ganges, and offen- 
sive operations were commenced by the 
attack of a fort called Budge-Budge, situated 
on the river banks between the places above 
named. An unaccountable piece of care- 
lessness on the part of Clive nearly occasioned 
the failure of the enterprise. While the 
ships cannonaded the fort, a number of the 
troops were to lay wait for the garrison, who 
it was expected, would abandon the place ; 
instead of which the ambuscade was itself 

* The widow of Ali Verdi Khan, before mentioned. 

j- Orme's Military Transactions, ii., 123. The 
total loss of the English in this affair does not ap- 
pear. Orme mentions thirteen men killed. Clive 
in a private letter to Mr. Pigot, remarks, that " our 
loss in the skirmish near Budge-Budge was greater 
than could well be spared if such skirmishes were 
to be often repeated." — {Life, i., 153.) 

% The attack was deferred on account of the 
fatigue of the troops. A body of 250 sailors were 
landed in the evening, and refreshed themselves by 
becoming extremely drunk. One of them, about 

surprised by a body of the enemy while 
resting on the march, having neglected 
even the common precaution of stationing 
sentinels to keep guard in the broad day- 
light. The presence of mind of Clive, 
aided probably by his reputation for good 
fortune, enabled him to rally the soldiers 
with rapidity, and advance with steadiness 
and success against the irregular ranks Ol 
two or three thousand horse and foot who 
had stealthily approached amid the thick 
jungle. Monichund, governor of Calcutta, 
led the attack, and on receiving a ball in his 
turban, this commander, having "no courage, 
but much circumspection/'t turned his ele- 
phant, and decamped with his entire force. 
The fort was cannonaded by the ship (the 
Kent) which first reached the spot, and a gene- 
ral attack, projected for the next morning, 
but prevented by the silent evacuation of the 
place. J The other posts on the Ganges were 
abandoned at the approach of the English, 
and Calcutta itself recaptured, after a siege 
of two hours. The merchandise belong- 
ing to the company remained, for the most 
part, untouched, having been reserved for 
Surajah Dowlah; but the houses of indi- 
viduals had been totally plundered. Hooghly 
was next attacked, and a breach easily 
effected; the troops mounted the rampart, 
and the garrison took to flight, leaving in 
the place a large amount of property. 

Intelligence of the renewal of hostilities 
between England and France, reached the 
armament at this period. The French in 
Bengal had a force of 300 Europeans and 
a train of field-artillery. Their union with 
Surajah Dowlah would, give him an over- 
powering degree of superiority; it was 
therefore manifestly politic to take imme- 
diate advantage of the desire for an accom- 
modation with which the issue of the contest 
had inspired him. 

In February, 1757, a treaty was formed, 
by which the subahdar — or, as he is com- 
monly called, the nabob — consented to re- 
store to the English their former privileges ; 
to make compensation for the plunder of 

dusk, straggled across the moat, scrambled up the 
rampart, and, meeting with no opposition in the de- 
serted citadel, hallooed loudly to the advanced guards 
in the village that he had taken the place. Sepoys 
were stationed round the walls. Others of the intoxi- 
cated sailors coming up to share the triumph of their 
comrade, mistook the sentinels for foes, and fired their 
pistols. In the confusion an officer was killed. The 
seamen, on returning to their ships, were flogged, for 
misconduct: the man who had discovered the flight 
of the garrison did not escape ; upon which he swore 
in great wrath never to take a fort again. 


Calcutta ; and to permit the erection of for- 
tifications. This arrangement was speedily 
followed by an alliance, offensive and de- 
fensive, eagerly ratified by both parties. 
The peace which followed was of short 
duration. The English impatiently desired 
to retaliate on the French their late con- 
duct ; and demanded the consent, if not 
the co-operation of their new ally, which he 
long refused, declaring with truth, that hav- 
ing no cause of enmity to either party, it 
was alike a point of duty and interest to 
prevent the outbreak of hostilities. Beneath 
this ostensible reason, another existed in 
his desire to preserve terms with the French 
in the event of a rupture with the English. 
The invasion and capture of Delhi by 
Ahmed Shah Abdalli, and the fear of an 
advance upon Bengal, for a time banished 
ail other schemes. The nabob clung to his 
European allies as an efficient defence ; but 
a restless inquietude nevertheless possessed 
him ; for the ability to protect was accom- 
panied by an equal power of destruction. 
At length, the peremptory demand and 
threats of Watson and Clive, backed by 
the arrival of reinforcements, with well- 
directed bribes to underlings, extorted from 
him a reluctant permission to " act according 
to the time and occasion."* This oracular 
phrase was considered to imply consent to 
the attack of Chandernagore, which was im- 
mediately proceeded with, notwithstanding 
subsequent direct and repeated prohibitions. 

The French conducted the defence with 
gallantry; but the combined force of the 
land and sea divisions proved irresistible. 
Admiral Watson evinced extraordinary sea- 
manship in bringing two of his vessels (the 
Kent and Tiger) abreast the fort ; and after 
three hours' firing the besieged capitulated. 
Chandernagore, like Calcutta, comprised a 
European and native town with a fort, and 
stretched over territory which, commencing 
at the southern limits of the Dutch settle- 
ment of Chinsura, extended two miles along 
the banks of the river, and about one-and- 
a-half inland. Clive was delighted at the 
conquest, considering it of more conse- 
quence than would have been that of Pondi- 
cherry itself, f which he hoped would follow. 
To " induce the nabob to give up all the 
French factories," and " drive them out, root 

* Orme's Military Transactions, ii., 140. 

•f Clive describes Chandernagore as " a most mag- 
nificent and rich colony; the garrison consisted of 
more than 500 Europeans and blacks, all carrying 
arm3: 360 are prisoners, and nearly 100 have been 
suffered to give their parole, consisting of civil, mili- 

and branch/'J — this and nothing less was. 
now attempted. But Surajah Dowlah was 
never less inclined to so impolitic a proce- 
dure, than after the taking of Chandernagore. 
The exploits of the ships of war had filled 
him with consternation: it is even asserted 
that he had been made to believe they could 
be brought up the Ganges close to his own 
capital — an operation which he immediately 
took measures to prevent, by causing the 
mouth of the Cossimbazar river to be 
dammed up.§ The idea of counterbalancing 
the power of the English by that of the 
French, was a natural and judicious one ; 
but he had neither judgment nor self-reliance 
for its execution. Old in dissipation, he was 
young in years and in all useful experience. 
Vicious habits, || and an ungovernable tongue, 
had alienated from him the affections of the 
chosen friends and servants of his grand- 
father; and they viewed with disgust the 
contrast afforded to the provident habits 
and courteous bearing of their late ruler 
by his profligate successor. Scarcely one 
voice appears to have been raised up to warn 
the unhappy youth of the growing disaffection 
of his subjects. The haughty Mussulman 
nobles were incensed by his insulting de- 
meanour ; and the Hindoos had still stronger 
grounds for estrangement. Under all Mo- 
hammedan governments, the financial depart- 
ments were almost solely entrusted to this 
thrifty and calculating race. The Brahmini- 
cal and mercantile classes were treated with 
that solid respect, which those who wield the 
sword usually pay to those who keep the 
purse. By unwearied application and ex- 
treme personal frugality, the seits or soucars 
frequently accumulated immense wealth, 
which they well knew how to employ, both 
for purposes of augmentation and for 
the establishment of political influence. 
Their rulers lavished enormous sums on 
wars and pageants; and though sometimes 
violent means were used to obtain stores of 
hidden wealth, the more frequent course 
adopted by princes to raise supplies was 
through orders on the revenue, in the nego- 
tiation of which the bankers contrived to 
make a double profit. Ali Verdi Khan had 
understood the value of these auxiliaries, 
and the importance of conciliating their 
confidence. Under his sway Hindoos filled 

tary, and inhabitants. Nearly sixty white ladies are 
rendered miserable by the loss of this place." — (Mal- 
colm's Life of Clive, i., 196.) | Idem., p. 196. 

§ Parker's Transactions in the East Indies, 57. 

|| He threatened Juggut Seit with circumcision, 
the worst insult that could be offered to a Hindoo. 


the highest offices of the state. Ram Narrain, 
the governor of Patna, and Rajah Ram of 
Midnapoor, were the chief of the managers 
and renters. Roydullub, the dewan or 
minister of finance, was likewise a person 
of great influence — the more so from his 
intimate connection with Juggut Seit, the 
representative of the wealthiest soucar, or 
banking firm in India. This last, by means 
of his extended transactions, possessed 
equal influence at Lucknow,* Delhi, and at 
Moorshedabad. Most of these persons, with 
the addition of Monichund, the temporary 
governor of Calcutta, Surajah Dowlah had 
offended in different ways; t and he especially 
resented the sense evinced by the Hindoos 
generally of the rising power of the English. 
The result was a determination to subvert 
his government. The chief conspirator was 
the bukshee, or military commander of the 
army, Meer Jaffier Khan, a soldier of for- 
tune, promoted by Ali Verdi to the highest 
military rank, and further exalted by a 
marriage with a member of the reigning 
family. Omichund, a wealthy Hindoo mer- 
chant, long resident in Calcutta, and inti- 
mately associated by commercial dealings 
with the E. I. Cy., became the medium of 
conveying to the English overtures to join 
the plot. Clive at once advocated com- 
pliance, on the ground that sufficient evi- 
dence existed of the intention of the nabob 
to join with the French for their destruction. 
It certainly appears that a correspondence 
was actually being carried on with Bussy, but 
to little effect, since the precarious state of 
politics at the court of Salabut Jung rendered 
his continuance there of the first importance. 
Still Clive argued that the conduct of the 
nabob sufficed to release his countrymen 
from their solemn pledge, and justified them 
in entering into a plot with the treacherous 
ministers ; and his strong will weighed down 
the opposition offered in discussing the ques- 
tion by a committee of the Calcutta presi- 
dency. To oppose the vacillating, cowardly 
intrigues of Surajah Dowlah with fraud and 
perjury, was decided to be a more promising 
course than to remain in the narrow path 

* The capital of the viceroy of Oude. 

f The copy of a letter found at Moorshedabad, 
after the fatal battle of Plassey, addressed by the 
nabob to Bussy, contains allusions to the seizure of 
Chandernagore, and offered co-operation against 
"these disturbers of my country, Dileer Jung Ba- 
hadur, the valiant in battle (Watson), and Sabut 
Jung (Olive), whom bad fortune attend!" 

X Vide Stewart's History of the Becean, ii., 498; 
and the translation of the Siyar ul Ilutakherin, pub- 
lished at Calcutta in 1789. — (i., 75S-9.) 

of honest dealing. Meer Jaffier promised, 
in the event of success, large donations to 
the company, the army, navy, and com- 
mittee. Clive declared Surajah Dowlah to 
be " a villain/' and Meer Jaffier " a man as 
generally esteemed as the other was de- 
tested."— (Malcolm's Life of Clive, i., 263.) 

The conduct of the chief person on this 
occasion, strongly supports the much-cri- 
ticised opinion of Mill — that deception never 
cost him a pang. Vague rumours of the 
plot reached the nabob ; and Clive, to dispel 
his suspicions, wrote to him "in terms so 
affectionate, that they for a time lulled the 
weak prince into perfect security." % The 
courier conveyed a second missive of the same 
date, from the same hand, addressed to Mr. 
Watts, the British resident at Moorshedabad 
— in which, after referring to the " soothing 
letter" § above alluded to, Clive adds, "Tell 
Meer Jaffier to fear nothing; that I will 
join him with 5,000 men who never turned 
their backs ; and that if he fails seizing him, 
we shall be strong enough to drive him out 
of the country. Assure him I will march 
night and day, as long as I have a man left." || 
The protestations of Clive gained force in the 
mind of the deluded nabob, through a cir- 
cumstance which occurred at this period. 
The Mahrattas, who had long been en- 
croaching on the fertile provinces of Bengal, 
thought the unpopularity and known ineffi- 
ciency of its present ruler afforded a favour- 
able opportunity for an attempt at its com- 
plete subjugation. The capture of Cossim- 
bazar and Calcutta would, the peishwa Bal- 
lajee Bajee Rao conceived, render the Eng- 
lish willing to enter into a coalition against 
the nabob, and the co-operation of the troops 
in the invasion of Bengal was solicited ; the 
compensation offered being the repayment of 
double the amount of the losses sustained 
from Surajah Dowlah, and the vesting of the 
commerce of the Ganges exclusively in the 
E. I. Cy. Some doubt was entertained as to 
the authenticity of this communication. It 
was even surmised to have been a trick on the 
part of Surajah Dowlah ; and as the assistance 
of the Mahrattas was by no means desirable 

§ The words of Macaulay, one of Mill's censurers. 

II The following is an extract from one of Admiral 
Watson's letters to the nabob: — "Let us take Chan- 
dernagore," he writes, "and secure ourselves from j 
any apprehensions in that quarter, and then we will j 
assist you with every man in our power, and go with 
you even to Delhi, if you will. Have we sworn reci- 
procally that the friends and enemies of the one 
should be regarded as such by the other ? and will 
not God, the avenger of perjury, punish us if we do 
not fulfil our oaths ?" — (Parker's East Indies, p. 78.) 




in the scheme already set on foot, the letter 
was at once forwarded to the nabob as afford- 
ing, in either case, evidence of the good faith 
of his allies. It proved to be authentic; 
and all the effect expected resulted from 
its transmission. But the execution of a 
plan in which many jarring interests were 
concerned, necessarily involved numerous 
dangers. At one moment a violent quarrel 
between the nabob and Meer Jaffier threat- 
ened to occasion a premature disclosure of 
the whole plot. This danger was averted by 
a reconciliation, in which that " estimable 
person," Meer Jaffier, swore upon the Koran 
fidelity to his master, after having a few 
days before, given a similar pledge to his 
English confederates in the projected usur- 
pation. Clive had his full share of what 
Napoleon would have styled " dirty work" 
to do in the business. When all things 
were arranged, Omichund suddenly declared 
himself dissatisfied with the amount of com- 
pensation* allotted to him in the division of 
the spoil planned by the conspirators. His 
services at this crisis were invaluable, and 
his influence with the nabob had repeatedly 
been the means of concealing the plot. The 
demand of thirty lacs of rupees (£350,000), 
was accompanied by an intimation of the 
danger of refusal. Whether Omichund really 
intended to risk the reward already agreed on, 
together with his own life, by betraying a 
transaction in which he had from the first 
borne a leading part, may well be doubted ; 
but Clive took an easy method of terminating 
the discussion by consenting to the exorbitant 
stipulation. Omichund likewise insisted on 
the agreement regarding himself being in- 

* The position of Omichund, with regard to the 
English, was peculiar. He had been connected with 
them in the affairs of commerce about forty years, 
and was looked upon as a person of great importance, 
both on account of his mercantile transactions, which 
extended to all parts of Bengal and Bahar, and the 
magnitude of his private fortune. His habitation is 
described by Orme as having been on a splendid 
scale, and divided into various departments, resembling 
rather the abode of a prince than of a merchant. 
Besides numerous domestic servants, he maintained 
(as is frequent among eastern nobies) a retinue of 
armed men in constant pay. When news of the ap- 
proach of Surajah Dowlah reached Calcutta, the 
local authorities, among other vague fears, suspecting 
Omichund of being in league with the enemy, seized 
and imprisoned him. An attempt was made to cap- 
ture the person of his brother-in-law, who had taken 
refuge in the apartments of the women ; but the 
whole of Omichund's peons, to the number of 300, 
rose in resistance, and the officer in command (a 
Hindoo of high cast), fearing that some indignity 
might be sustained by the females, set fire to the 
harem, and killed no less than thirteen with his own 
2 o 

serted in the treaty between the English and 
Meer Jaffier. Clive seemingly complied. 
Two treaties were drawn up, one on white 
paper, the other on red ; in the former, 
Omichund's name was not mentioned ; the 
latter, which was to be shown to him, con- 
tained the specified proviso. The honesty 
of Admiral Watson had nearly defeated this 
manoeuvre. He positively refused to sign 
the false treaty. Omichund would at once 
suspect some reason for this omission. Clive 
removed the difficulty by causing a Mr. 
Lushington to forge the important name. 

Hostility to the nabob was now openly 
professed. The English force marched 
against him, sending forward a letter equi- 
valent to a declaration of war. Surajah 
Dowlah dispatched an appeal for aid to the 
French, assembled his troops, and prepared 
to encounter a foreign foe, unsuspicious of 
the treachery at work within his camp. The 
courage of Meer Jaffier failed; doubt and 
fear, in the hour of danger, overpowered am- 
bition : he hesitated ; and instead of imme- 
diately coming over to Clive, at Cossimbazar, 
with his division, as had been agreed upon, 
he advanced with the nabob to Plassy. 
The position of the English became extremely 
perilous : the strength of the enemy twenty 
times outnumbered theirs. The ford of the 
Hooghly lay before them, easily crossed; 
but over which not one man might ever 
be able to return. Clive called a council of 
war for the first and last time in his whole 
career, probably as a cloak for his own mis- 
givings, since he voted first, and doubtless 
influenced the majority in deciding that it 
would be imprudent to risk an advance. f This 

hand, after which he stabbed himself, though (con- 
trary to his intention) not mortally. This melancholy 
catastrophe did not prevent Mr. Holwcll from soli- 
citing the intervention of Omichund to procure 
terms of capitulation from Surajah Dowlah ; and 
his conduct at this time totally removed the suspi- 
cions previously entertained. On the capture of the 
place, 400,000 rupees were plundered from his trea- 
sury, and much valuable property of different de- 
scriptions seized ; but his person was set at liberty, 
and a favourable disposition evinced towards him by 
the nabob, of which he took advantage to procure 
the restoration of his losses in money, and likewise 
in soliciting the release of the survivors of the mas- 
sacre, who were fed by his charity, and in great mea- 
sure restored to liberty through his entreaties. 

f The following is a list of the officers of this coun- 
cil, and the way in which they voted : — For delay — 
Robt. Clive ; James Kirkpatrick ; Archd. Grant ; 
Geo. Fred. Goupp ; Andrew Armstrong ; Thos. Rum- 
bold; Christian Firkan ; John Comeille ; II. Pop- 
ham. For immediate attack — Eyre Coote, G. Alex. 
Grant ; G. Muir ; Chas. Palmer ; Robt. Campbell ; 
PeterCarstairs; W. Jennings. — {Life of Clive, i., 258.) 


was an unusual opinion for "Sabut Jung" the 
daring in war, to form, and it was not a per- 
manent one. Passing away from the meet- 
ing, gloomy and dissatisfied, he paced about 
for an hour beneath the shade of some trees, 
and, convinced on reflection that the hesita- 
tion of Meer Jaffier would give place to re- 
awakened ambition, he resolved to reverse 
the decision in which he had so lately con- 
curred; and, returning to the camp, gave 
orders to make ready for the passage of the 
river.* The army crossed on the following- 
morning, and, at a little past midnight, took 
up its position in a grove of mango treesf 
near Plassy, within a mile of the wide-spread 
camp of the enemy. 

The sound of drums and cymbals kept 
Clive waking all night ; and Surajah Dowlah, 
overpowered by vague fears and gloomy ap- 
prehensions, passed the remaining hours of 
darkness in upbraiding and complaint.J At 
sunrise his army, marshalled in battle array, 
commenced moving towards the grove in 
which the English were posted. The plain 
seemed alive with multitudes of infantry, 
supported by troops of cavalry, and bearing 
with them fifty pieces of ordnance of great 
size, drawn by long teams of white oxen, 
and propelled by elephants arrayed in scarlet 
cloth and embroidery. Beside these, were 
some smaller but more formidable guns, 
under the direction of Frenchmen. § The 
force to oppose this mighty host numbered, 
in all, only 3,000 men, but of these nearly 
1,000 were English. Conspicuous in the 
ranks were the men of the 39th regiment, 
who that day added to the inscriptions on 
their colours the name of Plassy, and the 
motto, Primus in India. Of hard fighting 
there Avas but little; treachery supplied its 
place. The action began by a distant can- 
nonade, in which some of the few officers, 
still true to a falling cause, perished by the 
skilfully-directed fire of the " hat-wearers/' 
who, says Hussein Gholam Khan, " have no 
equals in the art of firing their artillery and 
musketry with both order and rapidity." [| 
Several hours were spent in this manner. 

* This is the account given by Orme, who proba- 
bly heard the circumstances from Clive himself. 
Serafton attributes the coloneFs change of mind to a 
letter received from Meer Jaffier in the course of 
the day. — {Reflections, p. 85.) 

f Regularly planted groves or woods of tall fruit 
trees are very common in India: that of Plassy was 
a square of about two miles in circuit ; but it has 
been neglected, and is now much diminished. 

% The despondency of the nabob, says Orme, in- 
creased as the hour of danger approached. His 
attendants, by some carelessness left his tent un- 

At length Meer-meden, one of the two chief 
leaders of the adverse force, was mortally 
wounded by a cannon-ball. He was carried 
to the tent of the prince, and expired while 
explaining the arrangements he had made 
for the battle. Driven to desperation by 
witnessing the death of his faithful servant, 
Surajah Dowlah summoned Meer Jaffier to 
his presence, and bade him revenge the 
death of Meer-meden ; at the same time, 
placing his own turban at the foot of his 
treacherous relative — the most humiliating 
supplication a Mohammedan prince could 
offer — he besought him to forget past differ- 
ences, and to stand by the grandchild of 
his benefactor (Ali Verdi Khan), now that 
his life, his honour, and his throne, were all 
at stake. Meer J affier replied to this appeal 
by treacherously advising immediate retreat 
into the trenches ; and the fatal order was 
issued, notwithstanding the earnest remon- 
strance of the Hindoo general, Mohun Lall, 
who predicted the utter confusion which 
would ensue. Meer Jaffier had unsuccess- 
fully endeavoured to convey a letter to 
Clive, advising the immediate attack of the 
nabob's camp; now, perceiving the fortune 
of the day decided, he remained, as before, 
stationary with his division of the array, 
amid the general retreat. Surajah Dowlah, 
on witnessing the inaction of so large a part 
of the force, comprehended at once his be- 
trayal; and on beholding the English ad- 
vancing, mounted a camel and fled to Moor- 
shedabad, accompanied by 2,000 horsemen. 
In fact, no other course remained to one in- 
capable of taking the lead in his own person ; 
for to such an extent had division spread 
throughout the Mohammedan troops, that 
no officer, even if willing to fight for his 
rightful master, could rely on the co-opera- 
tion of any other commander. The little 
band of Frenchmen alone strove to confront 
the English, but were rapidly carried away 
by the tide of fugitives. Of the vanquished, 
500 were slain. The conquerors lost but 
twenty -two killed and fifty wounded ; they 
gained not merely the usual spoils of war in 
guarded, and a common person, either through igno- 
rance, or with a view to robbery, entered unperceived. 
The prince, at length recognising the intruder, started 
from the gloomy reflections in which he had been 
absorbed, and recalled his servants with the em- 
phatic exclamation, — " Sure they see me dead !" — 
{Military Transactions, i., 172.) 

§ Orme states the force of the enemy at 50,000 
foot, 18,000 horse, and fifty pieces of cannon. 
Clive says 35,000 foot, 15,000 horse, and forty pieces 
of cannon. — {Letter to Secret Committee of E. 1. Cy.) 
|| Siyar id Mutakherin, i., 766. 


abundance — baggage and artillery-waggons, 
elephants and oxen — but paramount autho- 
rity over a conquered province, larger and 
more populous than their native country. 

The conduct of Meer Jaffier had been by 
no means unexceptionable, even in the sight 
of his accomplices. He had played for a 
heavy stake with a faltering hand — a species 
of cowardice for which Clive had no sym- 
pathy ; nevertheless, it was expedient to 
overlook all minor occasions of quarrel at this 
critical moment, and proclaim the traitor 
subahdar of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa. 
Meer Jaffier marched to Moorshedabad. 
Surajah Dowlah learned his approach with 
a degree of terror that prevented him from 
forming any plan of defence : deserted on 
all sides, he strove to conciliate the alienated 
affections of the military commanders by 
lavish gifts; and at length, after balancing 
between the advice given by his counsellors 
— to throw himself upon the mercy of the 
English, or again try the fortune of war — he 
renounced both attempts, and accompanied 
by his consort, his young daughter, and 
several other females, quitted the palace 
at dead of night, carrying with him a 
number of elephants laden with gold, jewels, 
and baggage of the most costly description.* 
Had he proceeded fearlessly by land in the 
broad daylight, it is possible that many of the 
local authorities would have rallied round 
his standard ; but instead of taking a bold 
course, he embarked in some boats for 
Plassy, hoping to be able to effect a junction 
with a party of the French under M. Law, 
who, at the time of the battle of Patna, was 
actually marching to his assistance. This 
proceeding removed all obstacles from the 
path of Meer Jaffier, and his installation 
was performed with as much pomp as cir- 
cumstances would permit. At the last mo- 
ment, either from affected humility or a 
misgiving as to the dangerous and trouble- 

* Orme says that Surajah Dowlah escaped by 
night from a window of the palace, accompanied only 
by a favourite concubine and a eunuch ; but Gholam 
Hussein, who, besides his usual accuracy, may be ex- 
pected to be well informed on the subject, makes the 
statements given in the text, and confirms them by 
much incidental detail. — (Siyar ul Mutakherin, i., 7; 
see also Scott's Bengal, n., 371.) 

t The interpreter of Clive — a renegade Frenchman, 
called Mustapha, who translated the Siyar id Mu- 
takherin — states in a note (i., 773), that the English 
never suspected the existence of an inner treasury 
said to contain eight crores (eight million sterling), 
kept, in pursuance of a custom common in India, in 
the zenana or women's apartments. In corrobora- 
tion, various circumstances are adduced in the history 

some nature of power treacherously usurped, 
he hesitated and refused to take pos- 
session of the sumptuously-adorned mus- 
nud, or pile of cushions, prepared for him. 
Clive, having vainly tried persuasion, took 
his hand, and placing him on the throne, 
kept him down by the arm while he pre- 
sented the customary homage — a nuzzur, or 
offering of gold mohurs, on a salver. The 
act was sufficiently significative ; thenceforth 
the subahdars of Bengal existed in a degree 
of dependence on the foreign rulers by 
whom they were nominated, with which that 
formerly paid to the most powerful of the 
Great Moguls bears no comparison. 

This public ceremonial was followed by a 
private meeting among the confederates to 
divide the spoil. Whether the extravagance 
of Surajah Dowlah, during his fifteen months' 
sway, had exhausted a treasury previously 
drained by Mahratta wars and subsidies, or 
whether Meer Jaffier and his countrymen 
succeeded in outwitting their English asso- 
ciates, and secretly possessed themselves of 
the lion's share,t remains an open question ; 
but it appears that the funds available, 
amounted only to 150 lacs of rupees — a sum 
far short of that which had been reckoned 
upon in the arrangement previously made. 
One large claim was repudiated in a very 
summary manner. When Meer Jaffier, and 
the few persons immediately concerned in 
the plot, adjourned to the house of Juggut 
Seit, to settle the manner of carrying out 
the treaty, Omichund followed as a matter 
of course. He had no suspicion of the deceit 
practised upon him ; for " Clive, with dis- 
simulation surpassing even the dissimulation 
of Bengal, had, up to that day, treated him 
with undiminished kindness."J Not being 
invited to take his seat on the carpet, Omi- 
chund, in some surprise, withdrew to the 
lower part of the hall, and waited till he 
should be summoned to join the conference. § 

of the individuals whom he asserts to have been par 
ticipants in the secret, to prove their having derived 
immense wealth from some hidden source. Among 
others Mini Begum, the favourite wife of Meer 
Jaffier Khan, who survived him, possessed an im- 
mense fortune, although her husband was constantly 
involved in disturbances with the soldiery from real 
or affected inability to discharge their arrears of pay. 

J Macaulay's Essay on Life of Clive, p. 50. 

§ Admiral Watson was not of the party. He died 
in the course of the year of a malignant fever which 
prevailed on the coast. Captain Brereton, when 
questioned before parliament regarding the deception 
practised on Omichund, bore witness that the admi- 
ral had stigmatised the conduct of Clive as " dishon- 
ourable and iniquitous." — (Pari. Reports, iii., 151.) 



The white treaty was produced and read; 
its various stipulations (including the utter 
expulsion of the French from Bengal) were 
confirmed, and the pecuniary claims of the 
English metby the immediate payment of one- 
half — two-thirds in money, and one-third 
in plate and jewels; the other portion to be 
discharged in three equal annual payments.* 
At length Omichund became uneasy at 
the total disregard evinced of his presence. 
On coming forward, he caught sight of the 
document just read, and exclaimed — " There 
must be some mistake; the general treaty was 
on red paper I" Clive, who during his long 
residence in India never acquired a know- 
ledge of any Indian language, turned to 
Mr. Scrafton, one of the servants of the 
company, then acting as interpreter, and 
said — " It is time to undeceive Omichund." 
This was easily done ; the few words in 
Hindostanee, " The red treaty was a trick, 
Omichund — you are to have nothing," were 
soon spoken; but the bystanders could 
scarcely have been prepared for the result. 
The Hindoo was avaricious to the heart's 
core ; and this sudden disappointment, aimed 
at the tenderest point, and aggravated by 
feelings of anger and humiliation, came like 
the stroke of death. He swooned, and was 
carried to his stately home, where, after re- 
maining many hours in a state of the deepest 
gloom, he began to exhibit symptoms of 
insanity. Some days after he visited Clive, 
who, probably unwilling to recognise the 
full extent of the ruin he had wrought, 
strove to soothe the old man by promises 
of procuring favourable terms with the 
company regarding certain contracts which 

* Clive, in a letter to the Secret Committee of the 
Court of Directors, dated Moorshedabad, 26th July, 
after giving some details of the battle, says — " The 
substance of the treaty with the present nabob is as 
follows: — 1st. Confirmation of the mint and all other 
grants and privileges in the treaty with the late 
nabob. 2ndly. An alliance, offensive and defensive, 
against all enemies whatsoever. 3rdly. The French 
factories and effects to be delivered up, and they never 
to be permitted to resettle in any of the provinces. 
4thly. One hundred lacs (£1,000,000) to be paid to the 
company in consideration of their losses at Calcutta, 
and the expenses of the campaign. 5thly. Fifty lacs 
(£500,000) to be given to the English sufferers at 
the loss of Calcutta. Gthly. Twenty lacs (£200,000) 
to Gentoos, Moors, &c, black sufferers at the loss of 
Calcutta. 7thly. Seven lacs (£70,000) to the Arme- 
nian sufferers : these three last donations to be dis- 
tributed at the pleasure of the admiral and gentle- 
men of the council, including me. 8thly. The en- 
tire property of all lands within the Mahratta ditch, 
which runs round Calcutta, to be vested in the com- 
pany : also 600 yards all round, without the said 
ditch. Gthly. The company to have the zemindary 

he held from them ; and even spoke of him, 
in an official despatch, as " a person capable 
of rendering great services, and therefore 
not wholly to be discarded. "f This state- 
ment is, however, quite incompatible with 
the description of Orme, who declares that 
Omichund, after being carried a senseless 
burthen from the house of Juggut Seit, J 
never rallied, but sank from insanity to 
idiocy. Contrary to the custom of the 
aged in Hindostan, and especially to his 
former habits and strong reason, Omichund, 
now an imbecile, went about decked in 
gaudy clothing and costly jewels, until his 
death, in the course of about eighteen 
months, terminated the melancholy history. 
Such a transaction can need no comment, 
at least to those who believe that in all 
cases, under all circumstances, a crime is of 
necessity a blunder. § In the present in- 
stance there could be no second opinion on 
the point, except as regarded the private 
interests of the persons concerned in the 
division of spoil found in the treasury of 
the deposed prince. The commercial in- 
tegrity of the English had laid the foun- 
dation of the confidence reposed in them 
by the natives, whether Mohammedan or 
Hindoo : the alliance of Juggut Seit and 
other wealthy bankers had been procured 
chiefly by this means. Omichund, in his 
endeavours to allay the suspicions of Sura- 
jah Dowlah, had declared that the English 
were famous throughout the world for their 
good faith, inasmuch that a man in Eng- 
land, who, on any occasion, told a lie, was 
utterly disgraced, and never after admitted 
to the society of his former friends and ac- 

of the country to the south of Calcutta, lying be- 
tween the lake and the river, and reaching as far as Cui- 
pee, they paying the customary rents paid by the for- 
mer zemindars to the government. lOthly. Whenever 
the assistance of the English troops shall be wanted, 
their extraordinary charges to be paid by the nabob, 
llthly. No forts to be erected by the government 
on the river side, from Hooghly downwards." Clive 
carefully avoided all mention of the separate treaties 
for the payment of monies in which he had the 
chief share. — (See Note in ensuing page.) 
t Life of Clive, i., 289. 

% The amount of the reward received by Juggut 
Seit does not appear. If at all in proportion to his 
previous wealth, it must have been very large. At 
the time of the plunder of Moorshedabad by the Mah- 
rattas, in 1742, two million and a-half sterling in 
Arcot rupees were taken from the treasury of himself 
and his brother; notwithstanding which they con- 
tinued to grant bills at sight, of one crore each. 

§ " Using no arguments but such as Machiavelli 
might have employed in his conferences with Borgia," 
remarks Macaulay, " Clive committed not merely a 
crime but a blunder." — (Essay, p. 51.) 


quaintances.* This invaluable prestige of 
honest dealing was placed in imminent jeo- 
pardy by Clive ; and years afterwards, rank 
and wealth failed to preserve him from 
learning, with anger and bitter humiliation, 
that forgery and lying were vices which, in 
the sight of his countrymen at large, could 
not be atoned for by the most brilliant suc- 
cesses. With regard to the enormous sums 
accepted, or, in other words, seized by Eng- 
lish officials, both civil and military, from 
the treasury of Bengal, that also seems to 
resolve itself into a very simple question. 
If, like Morari Rao, they had been professed 
leaders of mercenary troops, selling their 
services to the highest bidder, there could 
have been no doubt that, after their own 
fashion of reasoning, they would have well 
earned the stipulated reward. But Clive 
and his compeers were not masters, but 
servants ; the troops under their command 
were, like themselves, in the pay of the 
nation or the company; and it was unques- 
tionably from the government or the Court 
of Directors (to the latter of whom Clive 
repeatedly affirmed that he " owed every- 
thing")^ and from them only, that rewards 
should have been received. 

Years afterwards, when sternly questioned 
respecting the proceedings of this period, 
Clive declared that on recollecting the heaps 
of gold and silver coin piled up in masses, 
crowned with rubies and diamonds, through 
which he passed in the treasury of Moor- 
shedabad, he could not but view with sur- 
prise his own moderation in only taking 
(as it appeared) J to the extent of twenty 
to thirty lacs of rupees — that is, between 
£200,000 and £300,000. This "modera- 
tion'^ was, however, of brief continuance; 
for, some time afterwards, on the plea of desir- 
ing means wherewith to maintain a Mogul 
dignity conferred on him, he intimated to 
Meer Jaffier the propriety of its being 
accompanied by a jaghire (or estate for the 
support of a military contingent.) || In their 
relative positions a hint was a command, and 
the quit-rent paid by the E. I. Cy. for the 

* Orme's Military Transactions, ii., 137. 

f Malcolm's Life of Lord Clive, i., 182. 

% Clive cautiously abstained from any explicit 
statement of the sums acquired by him on various 
pretences; and his fellow- officials, as far as possible, 
refrained from acknowledging the extent of his ex- 
tortions or their own, even when sharply cross- 
examined before parliament. 

§ In a letter addressed to Mr. Pigot, dated Au- 
gust, 1757, Clive speaks of his " genteel compe- 
tence," and " a possible reverse of fortune," as rea- 
sons for desiring to leave Bengal. Mr. Pigot pro- 


extensive lands held by them to the south of 
Calcutta, amounting to nearly £30,000 
sterling per annum, was forthwith ceded. 

To return to the general narrative. Su- 
rajah Dowlah and his female companions 
reached Raj Mahal on the third night after 
leaving Moorshedabad. Exhausted with fa- 
tigue, and famishing with hunger, they 
landed, took refuge in a deserted garden, 
and began to prepare a mess of rice and 
pulse (called kichery), the common food of 
the country. While engaged in this un- 
wonted task, the fugitives were discovered 
by a man of low condition, whose ears had 
been cut off by order of Surajah Dowlah 
a twelvemonth before. Dissembling his 
vengeful feelings, he affected compassion 
and respect for the prince, and assisted in 
the preparation of the meal, but secretly 
sent word to the soldiers engaged in pursuit 
where to find the object of their search. At 
this very time, Law and his detachment were 
within three hours' march of Raj Mahal ; 
but they were driven from place to place 
by a party under Major Coote, and even- 
tually expelled from Bengal; while Surajah 
Dowlah was seized by the emissaries of Meer 
Jaffier, laden with chains, treated with every 
species of cruelty compatible with the pre- 
servation of life, and dragged through Moor- 
shedabad, to the presence of his successor. 
It was noon ; but Meer Jaffier, though seated 
on the musnud, had taken his daily dose of 
bang, ^[ and was incapable of giving instruc- 
tions regarding the treatment of the prisoner. 
His son Meeran, a lad of about seventeen, 
took upon himself to decide the question. 
This mere boy, educated in the harem, and 
remarkably effeminate both in dress and 
speech, possessed a heart no less callous to 
the gentler feelings of humanity than that 
of an old and unprincipled politician, hard- 
ened in the world's ways. " Pity and com- 
passion," he said, "spoilt business." It 
scarcely needed the murmuring and dissen- 
sion which pervaded the army, when the 
capture and ignominious treatment of their 
late ruler became known, to decide his fate. 

bably sympathised with him, for he himself accumu- 
lated a fortune of £400,000, chiefly (according to 
Mr. Watts) by lending money at high interest to the 
nabob, the chiefs, and managers of provinces — a prac- 
tice, says Sir John Malcolm, then too common to be 
considered as in anyway discreditable. — (ii., 251.) 

|| Vide his own evidence before the House of 
Commons. Such a solicitation was clearly opposed to 
the duty of a servant of the E. I. Cy. and a Lieu- 
tenant-colonel in the British army. — (Pari. Papers, 
vol. iii., p. 154.) 

<f[ An intoxicating beverage, made from hemp. 


Meeran caused him to be confined in a small 
chamber near his own apartments, and then 
summoning his personal friends, asked which 
of them would serve the existing admin- 
istration, by removing the only obstacle to 
its permanency. One after another pe- 
remptorily rejected the dastardly office; at 
length it was accepted by a man under pe- 
culiar obligations to the parents of the des- 
tined victim, in conjunction with a favourite 
servant of Meeran's. On beholding the en- 
trance of the assassins, Surajah Dowlah at 
once guessed their purpose. " They will not 
suffer me even to live in obscurity \" he ex- 
claimed ; and then requested that water might 
be provided for the performance of the puri- 
fication commanded by the Koran before 
death, A large vessel which stood at hand 
was emptied rudely over him, and he was 
hewn down by repeated sabre strokes ; " se- 
veral of which fell," says the Mohammedan 
historian, "on a face renowned all over Bengal 
for regularity of feature and sweetness of 
expression. - " The memory of a past deed of 
violence came over the prince in this terrible 
hour, and he died declaring, in allusion to an 
officer whom he had tyrannically caused to 
be executed in the streets of Moorshedabacl, 
" Hussein Kooli, thou art avenged !" * 

The morning after this event Meer Jaffier 
visited Clive, and, in the words of the former, 
ct thought it necessary to palliate the matter 
on motives of policy." Clive does not ap- 
pear to have deemed any excuse necessary; 
but the truth was, his own neglect had been 
unjustifiable, in not taking precautionary 
measures to guard at least the life of a ruler 
deposed by a conspiracy in which the English 
played the leading part. No effort was made 
to protect even the female relatives f of the 
murdered prince from cruel indignities at 
the hands of Meer Jaffier and his son, and 
his consort and infant daughter were robbed 
of all the valuables about them, and sent 

* The above account is, as before stated, chiefly 
derived from the Siyar ul Mutahherin. The author 
is strongly prejudiced against Surajah Dowlah, to 
whom he was distantly related. He had been taken 
prisoner in an engagement between this prince and 
Shaocat Jung, a rival pretender to the viceroyalty 
of Bengal, who was slain during a fit of intoxica- 
tion. The conduct of Surajah Dowlah on this oc- 
casion, does not corroborate the statements made by 
Orme and Stewart of his cruelty and violence, and 
it is possible that these have been exaggerated ; but 
unhappily, all the evidence comes from one side. 

f Surajah Dowlah was five-and-twenty at the time 
of his assassination. His mother, on beholding the 
mangled remains dragged past her windows, rushed 
into the street, without veil or slippers, and clasped 
the body in her arms, but was forced back with blows. 

into confinement in a manner calculated to 
inflict indelible disgrace on Mohammedan 
females of rank. 

In Calcutta all was triumph and rejoicing. 
Few stopped to think, amid the excitement 
created by the tide of wealth fast pouring in, 
of past calamities or future cares. It was a 
momentous epoch ; the step once taken was 
irrevocable; the company of traders had 
assumed a new position — henceforth to be 
rulers and lawgivers, with almost irrespon- 
sible sway over a territory far larger and 
more populous than their native land. It 
may be doubted if the directors at home 
gave much heed to these considerations ; 
their representatives in India certainly did 
not, each one being fully occupied in gather- 
ing the largest possible share of the spoil. 
The monies stipulated for in restitution of the 
damage inflicted in Calcutta, with those de- 
manded on behalf of the squadron, army, and 
committee, amounted to £2,750,000, besides 
donations to individuals. J The company re- 
ceived property to the amount of £1,500,000, 
and territorial revenues valued by Clive at 
£100,000 a-year. A fleet of 100 boats, with 
flags flying and music playing, bore to Fort 
William £800,000 in coined silver alone, 
besides plate and jewels, as the first instal- 
ment of the promised reward. 

Leaving the Bengal functionaries in the 
enjoyment of wealth and influence, it is ne- 
cessary to narrate the cotemporary proceed- 
ings of the Madras presidency. 

Affairs in the Carnatic and Coroman- 
del Coast. — Upon the breaking out of war 
between Great Britain and France in 1756, 
the French ministry resolved to strike an im- 
portant blow in India. A powerful armament 
was fitted out, and entrusted to the charge 
of Count Lally, an officer of Irish extraction, 
who had shared the exile of James II., 
and was no less noted for personal courage 
than for strong feelings against England. 

t The army and navy had £500,000 for their 
share, Clive coming in, as commander-in-chief, for 
£20,000. As a member of the Secret Committee, he 
received to the amount of £28,000, the others having 
£24,000 each ; besides which every one of them ob- 
tained a special gift from Meer Jaffier : that of Clive 
is variously stated at from £160,000 to £200,000. 
The General Council (not of the committee) received 
£60,000. Among the individuals who profited 
largelv by what Clive termed the "generosity" of 
Meer Jaffier, was Mr. Drake, the runaway governor 
of Calcutta. Lushington (who forged the hand and 
seal of Admiral Watson) had, Clive stated in reply 
to parliamentary inquiry, " something very trifling, 
— about 50,000 rupees." — (Pari. Reports.) The di- 
vision of the booty occasioned very serious disputes 
between the army and the navy. 


He was accompanied by his own regiment of 
Irish (1,080 strong), by fifty of the royal 
artillery, and a great number of officers of 
distinction. The court of Versailles looked 
on the success of the expedition as a matter 
of certainty, and directed the commencement 
of operations by the siege of Fort St. David. 
Their anticipated conquests were marred by 
i a remarkable series of disasters. The fleet 
quitted Brest in May, 1757, and carried 
with them the infection of a malignant fever 
then raging in the port. No less than 300 
persons died before reaching Rio Janeiro ; 
and from one cause or another delays arose, 
which hindered the ships from reaching 
Pondicherry until the end of April, 1758. 
There new difficulties occurred to obstruct 
the path of Lally. He had been especially 
directed to put down, at all hazards, the dis- 
sension and venality which prevailed among 
the French officials, and to compel them to 
make exertions for the benefit of their employ- 
ers, instead of the accumulation of private 
fortunes. The task was at best an onerous 
one, and Lally set about it with an uncom- 
promising zeal, which, under the circum- 
stances, bordered on indiscretion. Perfectly 
conversant with the technicalities of his pro- 
fession, he was Avilful and presumptuous : 
his daring plans, if heartily seconded, might 
have been crowned with brilliant success ; as 
it was, they met the same fate as those of La 
Bourdonnais,while he was reserved for a doom 
more terrible, and equally unmerited. Some 
of his early measures were, however, attended 
with success. The English beheld with 
alarm the overpowering additions made to 
the force of the rival nation ; and when, after 
a prolonged siege, Fort St. David capitulated, 
serious apprehensions were entertained for 
the safety of Madras. The want of funds 
alone prevented Lally from making an im- 
mediate attack. After vainly endeavouring 
to raise sufficient supplies on credit, he re- 
solved to direct to their attainment the next 
operations of the war. The rajah of Tanjore, 
when hard pressed, in 1751, by the united 
force of Chunda Sahib and Dupleix, had 
given a bond for 5,600,000 rupees, which 
remained unredeemed at Pondicherry. To 
extort payment of this sum an expedition 
was now undertaken against Tanjore, and on 
the march thither, many cruel acts of vio- 
* At Kivaloor, the seat of a celebrated pagoda, 
Lally, in the hope of finding hidden treasures, ran- 
sacked the houses, dug up the foundations, dragged 
the tanks, and carried away the brass idols ; but to 
very little purpose as far as booty was concerned. 
Six Brahmins lingered about the violated shrines ; and 

lence were committed.* The rajah, after 
some resistance, offered to compromise the 
matter by the payment of a sum much infe- 
rior to that required. The French com- 
mander was willing to abate his pecuniary 
demand, provided he should be supplied with 
600 cattle for draught and provisions, which 
were greatly needed for the troops. The 
rajah refused, on the plea that his religion did 
not sanction the surrender of kine for the 
unhallowed uses of Europeans. The impe- 
tuous Lally had before excited strong feelings 
of aversion in the minds of the natives by 
obliging them to carry burthens for the army, 
and other services which he enforced pro- 
miscuously, without regard to the laws of 
cast : he now treated the assertion of the 
rajah as a mere pretext to gain time, similar 
to those practised upon Chunda Sahib on a 
previous occasion; therefore, making little 
allowance for the invariable prolixities of 
eastern negotiation, he declared that unless 
an arrangement were forthwith agreed on, 
the rajah and all his family should be 
shipped as slaves to the Mauritius. The 
Hindoos rarely indulge in intemperate lan- 
guage; and the Tanjore prince, stung and 
astonished by the outrage offered him, re- 
solved to perish sooner than succumb to his 
insulting foe. At his earnest request, an 
English detachment was sent from Trichino- 
poly to his assistance. Lally continued the 
assault on Tanjore, and had effected a 
breach, when news arrived that the English 
fleet, after an indecisive engagement with 
that of France, f had anchored before Karical, 
from whence alone the besieging force could 
derive supplies. Powder and provisions 
were both nearly exhausted, and Lally, by 
the almost unanimous opinion of a council 
of war, withdrew from Tanjore, and hastened 
to Pondicherry, with the intention of making 
a simultaneous attack by sea and land on 
Madras. This project fell to the ground, 
owing to the determination of the naval 
commander to quit India immediately, which, 
notwithstanding the urgent entreaties of the 
local government and the army, he per- 
sisted in doing, on the ground that the dis- 
ablement of the ships, and the disease and 
diminution of the crews, rendered it impera- 
tively necessary to refit at the Mauritius. 
Lally thus weakened, directed his next en- 
Lally, suspecting that they were spies, caused them 
all to be shot off from the muzzle of his cannon. — ■ 
( Wilks' History of Mysoor, i., 397.) 

f The English suffered most in their shipping ; the 
French in their men. — ( Vide Owen Cambridge's Ac- 
count of the War in India, from 1750 to 1760, p. 123.) 



deavours against Arcot, and succeeded in 
gaining possession of that place through the 
artifices of lleza Sahib (now dignified by the 
French with the title of nabob), who opened 
a correspondence with the governor placed 
there by Mohammed Ali, and induced him 
to make a pretended capitulation, and come 
over with his troops to the service of the 
enemy. About the time of entering Arcot, 
Lally was joined by Bussy. This officer 
had, by the exercise of extraordinary ability, 
maintained his position in the court of 
Salabut Jung, and dexterously threading 
his way amid the intrigues of the Moham- 
medan courtiers, headed by the brothers of 
the subahdar (Nizam Ali and Bassalut 
Jung), had contrived, with very slender 
means, to uphold the power of his country- 
men in connexion with the ruler they had 
nominated.* Lally did not, or would not, see 
that the authority of the French at Hydera- 
bad — that even the important possessions of 
the Northern Circars, rested almost wholly 
on the great personal influence of one man ; 
and notwithstanding the arguments and 
entreaties of Bussy and Salabut Jung, the 
troops were recalled to Pondicherry. It 
appears that Lally, having heard of the large 
sums raised by Dupleix on his private credit, 
hoped that Bussy might be able to do so 
likewise ; and he listened with mingled sur- 
prise and disappointment to the averment of 
the generous and high-principled officer, that 
having never used his influence with the 
subahdar as a means of amassing wealth, he 
was altogether incapable of affording any ma- 
terial assistance in pecuniary affairs. The 
government of Pondicherry declared them- 
selves devoid of the means of maintaining the 
army, upon which Count d'Estaigne and 
other leading officers agreed in council, that it 
was better to die by a musket-ball, under the 
ramparts of Madras, than by hunger within 
the walls of Pondicherry, and determined to 
commence offensive operations by endeavour- 
ing to bombard the English settlement, shut 
up the troops in Fort St. George, pillage the 
Black Town, and lay waste the surrounding- 
country. The sum of 94,000 rupees was 
raised for the purpose, of which 60,000 were 
contributed by Lally himself, and the re- 

* A detailed account of his proceedings occupies a 
considerable part of Orme's Military Transactions. 

t No attempt was made to defend the Black 
Town ; but after its seizure by the French, the Eng- 
lish perceiving the intemperance and disorder of the 
hostile troops, strove to profit by the opportunity, 
and sallied out 600 strong. They were, however, 
driven back with the loss of 200 men and six officers. 

mainder in smaller sums by members of 
council and private individuals. The force 
thus sparely provided with the sinews of 
war, consisted of 2,700 European, and 4,000 
Indian troops. The English, apprised of 
the intended hostilities, made active prepa- 
rations for defence under the veteran general, 
Lawrence, and their efforts were again fa- 
voured by climatorial influences; for the 
French expedition, though in readiness to 
leave Pondicherry at the beginning of No- 
vember, 1758, was prevented by heavy rains 
from reaching Madras till the middle of 
December, and this at a crisis when Lally 
had not funds, to secure the subsistence of 
the troops for a single week. The spoil of 
the Black Townf furnished means for the 
erection of batteries, and the subsequent 
arrival of a million livres from the Mauri- 
tius, led to the conversion of the blockade 
(which was at first alone intended) into a 
siege ; but, either from prudential considera- 
tions or disaffection, J the officers refused to 
second the ardour of their commander ; and 
after nine weeks' tarry (during the last fort- 
night of which the troops had subsisted 
almost entirely upon some rice and butter 
captured in two small vessels frOm Bengal), 
the approach of an English fleet of six sail, 
compelled the enemy to decamp by night 
with all haste. The state of feeling at 
Pondicherry may be easily conceived from 
the assertion of Lally, that the disastrous 
result of the expedition was celebrated by 
the citizens as a triumph over its unpopular 
commander. Their ill-founded rejoicings 
were of brief continuance ; scoffing was soon 
merged in gloomy apprehensions, destined 
to find a speedy realisation. The arrival of 
an important accession to the English force, 
under Colonel Coote, in October, 1759, 
decided for the time the struggle between 
France and England for supremacy in India. 
Wandewash was speedily attacked and car- 
ried. Lally, while marching to attempt its 
recovery, was met and defeated. Bussy 
placed himself at the head of a regiment, to 
lead the men to the charge of the bayonet, 
as the only means of saving the battle; had 
his horse wounded under him, was aban- 
doned by the troops, and taken prisoner. 

X Orme says the former ; Lally, in his Memoirs, 
the latter: at the same time he severely censures the 
plots and whole conduct of the Pondicherry govern- 
ment, declaring, in an intercepted letter, that he 
" would rather go and command the Kafirs of Mada- 
gascar, than remain in this Sodom ; which it is im- 
possible but the fire of the English must destroy sooner 
or later, even though that of heaven should not." 




Chittaput, Arcot, Devicotta, Karical, Val- 
dore, Cuddalore, and other forts, were suc- 
cessively captured; and by the beginning 
of May, 1760, the French troops were con- 
fined to the bounds of Pondicherry, and the 
English, having received further reinforce- 
ments, encamped within four miles of the 
town. Lally shrank from no amount of 
danger or fatigue in his exertions to rally 
the troops and subdue the pervading spirit 
of mutiny and corruption. As the last 
chance of upholding the national interest, 
he resorted to the policy of Dupleix, and 
looked round for some native power as an 
auxiliary. The individual on whom he 
fixed was Hyder Ali,* a soldier of fortune, 
who had risen to the command of the 

* The great-grandfather of Hyder Ali was a reli- 
gious person, named Bhelole, who migrated from the 
Punjab and settled with his two sons at the town of 
Alund, 110 miles from Hyderabad. Here he erected 
a small mosque by charitable contributions, and 
also what is termed a fakeer's mokan— that is a house 
for the fakeer, who attends at the mosque and pro- 
cures provisions for the use of the worshippers. By 
this speculation, Bhelole raised some property, but 
not sufficient to support the families of his sons, who 
left him and obtained employment at Sera as reve- 
nue peons. One of these, named Mohammed Ali, 
left a son called Futteh, who having distinguished 
himself for bravery, was promoted to be a Naik 
or commander of twenty peons. From this position 
he gradually rose to eminence, and married a lady of 
a rank superior to his own. The circumstances at- 
tending this union were altogether of a romantic 
character. The father of the lady was robbed and 
murdered near the borders of Bednore while travers- 
ing the peninsula. His widow and two daughters 
begged their way to Colar, where the}' were relieved 
from further difficulty by Hyder Naik, who married 
both the sisters in succession — a practice not for- 
bidden by the Mohammedan law. Two sons, of 
whom the younger was the famous Hyder Ali, were 
born to the second wife, and they had respectively 
attained the age of nine and seven years, when their 
father was slain in upholding the cause of the Mo- 
hammedan noble whom he served, against the pre- 
tensions of a rival candidate for one of the minor L)ec- 
cani governments in 1728, The patron of Hyder 
Naik was defeated and slain ; the family of the latter 
fell into the hands of the victor, and on pretence of 
a balance due from the deceased to the revenues of 
the province, a sum of money was extorted from his 
heirs by cruel and ignominious tortures, applied to 
both the lads, arid even, Colonel Wilks supposes, to 
the widow herself. Hyder Ali waited thirty-two 
years for an opportunity of revenge ; and then, as will 
be shown in a subsequent page, grasped it with the 
avidity of a man retaliating an injury of yesterday. 
Meanwhile his mother, being permitted to depart 
after having, in the words of her grandson, Tippoo 
Sultan, "lost everything but her children and her 
honour," sought refuge among her own kindred. 
Through the influence of a maternal uncle, the 
elder boy was received into the service of a Hindoo 
officer of rank, and gradually rose to a respectable 
position ; but Hyder Ali attained the age of twenty- 

2 p 

Mysoor army. With him Lally concluded 
an agreement, by which Hyder undertook 
to furnish a certain quantity of bullocks for 
the supply of Pondicherry, and to join the 
French with 3,000 picked horse and 5,000 
sepoys. In return he was to receive imme- 
diate possession of the fort of Theagur — an 
important station, about fifty miles from 
Pondicherry, situate near two of the prin- 
cipal passes in the Carnatic, with, it is alleged, 
the promise even of Madura and Tinnivelly, 
in the event of the favourable termination of 
the war. A detachment of the English 
army, sent to interrupt the march of the 
Mysoor troops, was defeated; but, after 
remaining in the vicinity of Pondicherry 
about a month, Hyder decamped one night 

seven without entering on any profession, in utter 
ignorance of the first elements of reading and writing, 
absent from home for weeks together on some secret 
expedition of voluptuous riot, or passing, as was the 
custom of his whole life, to the opposite extreme of 
rigid abstinence and excessive exertion — wandering 
in the woods in pursuit of wild beasts, himself hardly 
less ferocious. At length he thought fit to join his 
brother's corps as a volunteer on a special occasion, 
and having attracted the attention of Nunjeraj by 
his singular bravery and self-possession, he was at 
once placed in command of some troops, and from 
that time acquired power by rapid steps. The 
authority of the Mysoor state then rested wholly in 
the hands of Nunjeraj and his brother Deoraj ; but 
the death of the latter, and the incapacity of the 
former, induced an attempt on the part of the rajah 
to become a king in reality as well as name. Hyder 
at one time sided with, at another against, the rajah, 
his object in both cases being purely selfish. An 
invasion of Mysoor by the Mahrattas, in 1759, con- 
tributed to his aggrandisement, by giving scope for 
the exercise of his warlike abilities ; but he played a 
desperate game; for the queen-mother, perceiving 
his daring temper, dreaded to find her son released 
from the hands of one usurper only to fall into worse 
custody, and laid a scheme, in conjunction with a 
Mahratta chief, for the destruction of Hyder Ali, 
who was then engaged at a distance from court. 
Hyder escaped with difficulty, and having travelled 
ninety-eight miles in twenty hours (the first seventy- 
five on the same horse), reached Bangalore, the fort 
and district of which had been given him shortly 
before as a personal jaghire, just in time to precede 
the orders sent by the rajah to close the gates against 
him. The strength of the Mahrattas was shattered 
by the disastrous battle of Paniput, in 1 760 ; the ex- 
hausting strife of the European power in the Car- 
natic precluded their interference ; and Hyder found 
means to reduce his nominal master to the condi- 
tion of a state pensioner, and then looked round for 
further food for ambition. As an illustration of the 
cruelty of his nature, it is related that when after 
the successful termination of the rebellion, Kundee 
Rao, the brave and faithful general of the rajah, was 
surrendered to the conqueroL with an earnest sup- 
plication for kind treatment, Hyder replied, that he 
would not only spare his life, but cherish him like a 
paioquet; and" the miserable captive was accordingly 
confined in an iron cage, and fed on rice and milk. 



with his whole force, on account of internal 
proceedings which threatened the downfall 
of his newly-usurped authority in Mysoor. 
The English, so soon as the rains had ceased, 
actively besieged Pondicherry. Insubordina- 
tion, dissension, and privation of every de- 
scription * seconded their efforts within the 
walls. Lally himself was sick and worn out 
with vexation and fatigue. The garrison 
surrendered at discretion in January, 1760,f 
and the council of Madras lost no time in 
levelling its fortifications with the ground ,J 

The consequences predicted by Bussy, 
from his compulsory abandonment of Salabut 
Jung, had already ensued. An expedition 
from Bengal, fitted out by the English against 
the Northern Circars, had wrested from the 
French these important possessions. Mahe 
and its dependencies on the Malabar coast 
had been likewise attacked, and reduced a 
few months before the fall of Pondicherry. 
Theagur capitulated after a feeble resistance ; 
and the capture of the strong fort of Jinjee in 
April, 1761, completed the triumph of the 
English, and left the French without a single 
military post in India. 

The storm of popular indignation at this 
disastrous state of affairs was artfully directed 
upon the devoted head of Lally. On his 
return to France the ministry, seconded by 
the parliament of Paris, threw him into the 
Bastille, and on various frivolous pretexts he 
was condemned to die the death of a traitor 
and a felon. Errors of judgment, arrogance, 
and undue severity might with justice have 
been ascribed to Lally ; but on the opposite 

* When famine prevailed to an increasing extent 
in Pondicherry, Lally strove to prolong the defence 
by sending away the few remaining cavalry, at the 
risk of capture by the English; by returning all 
prisoners under a promise not to serve again ; and 
also by expelling the mass of the native inhabitants, 
to the number of 1,400, without distinction of sex or 
age. The wretched multitude wandered in families 
and companies to various points, and sometimes 
strove to force a path through the hosts of the 
enemy, or back within the gates from which they had 
been expelled, meeting on either side death from the 
sword or the bullet. For eight days the outcasts 
continued to traverse the circumscribed space be- 
tween the fortifications and the English encamp- 
ment, the scant-spread roots of grass affording their 
sole means of subsistence. At length the English 
commander suffered the survivors to pass; and though 
they had neither home nor friends in prospect, de- 
liverance from sufferings more prolonged, if less in- 
tense, than those endured in the Black-Hole, was 
hailed with rapturous gratitude. — (Orme, ii., 699.) 
An episode like this speaks volumes on the unjustifi- 
able character of a war, between civilised and Chris- 
tian nations, which is liable to subject heathen popu- 
lations to calamities so direful and unprovoked. 

side of the scale ought to have been placed un- 
compromising fidelity to the nation and com- 
pany he served, and perfect disinterestedness, 
together with the uninterrupted exercise of 
energy united to military talents. It is re- 
lated that he confidently anticipated a tri- 
umphant issue to the proceedings instituted 
against him, and was seated in his dungeon 
sketching a chart of the Coromandel coast, 
when tidings of the fatal sentence arrived. 
"Is this the reward of forty-five years of 
faithful service ?" he exclaimed ; and snatch- 
ing up a pair of compasses, strove to drive 
them to his heart. The bystanders prevented 
the fulfilment of this criminal attempt, and 
left to the representatives of the French 
nation the disgrace of perpetrating what 
Voltaire boldly denounced as "a murder 
committed with the sword of justice." A few 
hours after his condemnation, Lally, then in 
the sixty-fifth year of his age, was dragged 
in a dirty dung-cart through the streets of 
Paris to the scaffold, a gag being thrust in 
his mouth to prevent any appeal to the sym- 
pathies of the populace. 

La Bourdonnais, Dupleix, and Lally, were 
successive victims to the ingratitude of the 
French company. Bussy was more fortu- 
nate. Upon his capture by the English he 
was immediately released on parole, greatly 
to the dismay and disappointment of Mo- 
hammed Ali, the nabob of the Carnatic. 
He subsequently returned to France, and, 
strengthened by an aristocratic marriage 
(with the niece of the Due de Choiseuil), 
lived to enjoy a high reputation and a con- 

f The departure of Lally for Madras was marked 
by a scene of a most discreditable character. The 
French officers raised a shout of derision, as their late 
commander passed along the parade a worn and de- 
jected prisoner, and would have proceeded to violence 
but for the interference of his English escort. The 
same reception awaited Dubois, the king's commis- 
sary. He stopped and offered to answer any accu- 
sation that might be brought forward, upon which a 
man came forth from among the crowd and drew his 
sword. Dubois did the same : he was of advanced 
age, with the additional infirmity of defective sight ; 
and the second pass laid him dead at the feet of his 
antagonist. The catastrophe was received with ap- 
plause by the bystanders, and not one of them would 
even assist the servant of the deceased in the re- 
moval of the body. The unpopularity of Dubois 
originated in his energetic protests against the dis- 
order and venality of the local government. 

t A sharp dispute took place between the officers 
of the crown and of the company. Colonel Coote 
claimed Pondicherry for the nation ; Mr. Pigot on 
behalf of his employers ; and the latter gentleman 
being able to enforce his arguments by refusing to ad- 
vance money for the payment of the troops, unless the 
point was conceded, gained the day. — (Orme, i., 724.) 



siderable fortune. The company itself was 
soon extinguished,* and the power of the 
nation in India became quite inconsiderable. 

Affairs of Bengal resumed from 1757. 
— The first important danger which menaced 
the duration of Meer Jaffier's usurped 
authority, was the approach of the Shah-zada 
or heir-apparent to the throne of Delhi, who 
having obtained from his father formal in- 
vestiture as subahdar of Bengal, Bahar, 
and Orissa, now advanced to assert his 
claims by force of arms. The emperor 
(Alumgeer II.) was at this period completely 
in the power of his intriguing vizier, Shaab 
or Ghazi-oo-deen (the grandson of the 
famous nizam) ; and the prince had only 
escaped the toils of the imperious minister 
by cutting his way, sword in hand, with 
half-a-dozen followers, through the body of 
guards stationed to retain him a close 
prisoner within his own palace. The spirit 
manifested by this daring exploit did not 
characterise his after career, for he proved 
quite incapable of grappling with the many 
difficulties which beset his path. The gov- 
ernors or nabobs of Allahabad and Oude, 
both virtually independent powers, sup- 
ported his cause at the onset ; and the prince 
further endeavoured to obtain the support 
of the English by large promises. His offers 
were declined, and active co-operation with 
Meer Jaffier resolved on. The Shah-zada 
and his adherents advanced to Patna; but 
the treachery of the nabob of Oude, in 
taking advantage of the privilege accorded 
him of a safe place for his family, to seize 
the fortress of Allahabad, compelled the ruler 
of that province to march back for the pro- 
tection or recovery of his own dominions.! 
The result of their disunion was to bereave 
the Shah-zada of friends and resources. In 
this position he solicited a sum of money 
from the English general in requital for the 
abandonment of his pretensions in Bengal, 
and £1,000 were forwarded to the im- 
poverished descendant of a powerful dynasty. 
Through the influence of Shaab-oo-deen, 

* French trade with India "was laid open in 1770; 
but in 1785 a new company was incorporated, and 
lasted until 1790, when its final abolishment, at the 
expiration of two years, was decreed by the National 
Assembly. — (Macpherson, pp. 275 — 284.) 

f The Allahabad ruler, while marching homeward, 
was met by M. Law with a French detachment, and 
entreated to return to the Shah-zada and assist in 
besieging Patna, which, it was urged, would occasion 
but a very slight delay. The proposition was rejected ; 
the nabob continued his march, but being eventually 
persuaded by the rival subahdar to trust to his gen- 
erosity, was made prisoner and put to death. 

the emperor was compelled to sign a sunnud 
(edict or commission), transferring the empty 
title of subahdar of Bengal to his second 
son, and confirming Meer Jaffier in all real 
power, under the name of his deputy. Upon 
this occasion Clive obtained the rank of a 
lord of the empire, which afforded him a 
pretext for extorting a jaghire amounting to 
£30/)00 per annum ; although, at the very 
time, the treasury of Bengal was almost ex- 
hausted, and the soldiers of the province 
clamorous for arrears of pay: and moreover, 
so doubtful a complexion had the alliance 
between the English and Meer Jaffier already 
assumed, that immediately after the departure 
of the Shah-zada, the nabob was suspected of 
intriguing with a foreign power for the expul- 
sion of his well-beloved coadjutors. The 
Bengal presidency learned with alarm the 
approach of a great armament fitted out by 
the Dutch at Batavia. Seven ships ascended 
the Hooghly to within a few miles of Cal- 
cutta, where 700 European and 800 Malay 
soldiers disembarked, with the avowed in- 
tention of marching thence to the Dutch 
settlement of Chinsura. England and Hol- 
land were at peace; but Clive, notwith- 
standing the absence of any hostile mani- 
festation on the part of the newly-arrived 
force, obtained from the nabob a direct 
contradiction to the encouragement he had 
previously given, and a positive order for 
the Dutch to leave the river.J An English 
detachment was sent to intercept the march 
of the troops to Chinsura, but the officer in 
command (Colonel Forde) hesitated about 
proceeding to extremities, and sent to head- 
quarters for explicit instructions. Clive was 
engaged at the card-table when the message 
arrived. Tearing off a slip from the letter 
j ust presented to him, he wrote in pencil : 
" Dear Forde, — Fight 'em immediately, and 
I'll send an order of council to-morrow." 
Forde obeyed, and succeeded in completely 
routing the enemy, so that of the 700 
Europeans, not above fourteen reached 
Chinsura, the rest being either taken pri- 

% The dominant influence of Clive is illustrated by 
an anecdote recorded in the Siyar ul Mutakherin. 
A fray having taken place between the soldiers of 
Clive and those of one of the oldest and most at- 
tached adherents of Meer Jaffier, the nabob re- 
proached his officer for what had occurred, exclaim- 
ing, " Have you yet to learn in what position heaven 
has placed this Colonel Clive ?" The accused replied, 
that so far from seeking a pretext of quarrel with 
the colonel, he " never rose in the morning without 
making three profound bows to his jackass f — a 
speech which Scott {History of the Deccan, ii., 376) 
explains as meant in allusion to the nabob himself. 



sorters or slain. The attack upon the ships 
was equally successful, the whole being cap- 
tured. After this heavy blow, the Dutch, 
to save their settlements in Bengal from 
total destruction, made peace with their 
powerful opponents by paying the expenses 
of the war ; while Clive, aware of the irre- 
gularity of his proceedings,* facilitated the 
termination of the dispute by the restora- 
tion of the captured vessels in December, 
1759. Early in the following year he re- 
signed the government of Bengal, and sailed 
for England. 

It has been asserted that Clive never suf- 
fered his personal interests to interfere with 
those of his employers. Had this been the 
truth, he would certainly not have quitted 
India at so critical a period for the E. I. Cy. 
as the year 1760. It was not age (for he 
was yet but five-and-thirty) nor failing 
strength (for he declared himself " in excel- 
lent health") that necessitated his departure ; 
neither is it easy to find any less selfish 
reasons than a desire to place and enjoy in 
safety his immense wealth, leaving those at 
whose expense it had been accumulated to 
bear alone the brunt of the impending storm. 
His opinion of Meer Jaffier was avow- 
edly changed; for though he continued 
personally to address him as the most mu- 
nificent of princes, yet in his semi-official 
correspondence with his own countrymen, 
the " generally esteemed" individual of two 
years ago, becomes an " old man, whose days 
of folly are without number." The English 
in general attributed to the ruler of their 
own nomination every vice previously al- 
leged against Surajah Dowlah. It was 
urged, that whatever soldierly qualifications 
he might have possessed in the days of Ali 
Verdi Khan, had passed with the vigour of 
youth, leaving him indolent and incapable ; 
but easily carried away by unfounded sus- 
picions to perpetrate, or at least sanction, 
deeds of midnight assassination against in- 
nocent and defenceless persons of either 
sex.f A native authorityf describes Meer 
Jaffier as taking a childish delight in sitting, 
decked with costly jewels, on the musnud, 
which he disgraced by habitual intoxication, 

* He remarked, with regard to these transactions, 
that " a public man may occasionally be called upon 
to act with a halter round his neck." 

t The infant brother or nephew of Surajah Dow- 
lah, on the accession of Meer Jaffier, is stated to have 
been murdered by being pressed to death between 
pieces of wood used in packing bales of shawls. 

% Siyar ul Mutakherin, ii., 19. 

§ Clive calls him " a worthless young dog," and 

as well as by profligacy of the most un- 
seemly description. The English he feared 
and hated, but lacked energy and ability to 
offer any systematic opposition to their 
encroachments. The leading Hindoos be- 
came objects of aversion to him on account 
of their intimate connexion with the power- 
ful foreigners, and plots were laid for the 
destruction of several individuals, with vary- 
ing success. The chief instigator of these in- 
trigues was Meeran, the heir-apparent, who, 
in spite of the inexperience of youth and a 
merciless disposition, possessed a degree of 
energy and perseverance which, together 
with strong filial affection, rendered him the 
chief support of his father's throne. § The 
" chuta" (little or young) nabob and the Eng- 
lish regarded one another with scarcely dis- 
guised distrust. The Begum (or princess) , the 
mother of Meeran, betrayed excessive anxiety 
for the safety of her only son ; and although 
her affectionate intercessions were treated 
with contemptuous disdain by the servants 
of the company, they were far from being 
uncalled for; since it needed no extraordi- 
nary foresight to anticipate that the ill-de- 
fined claims, and especially the right of inter- 
ference in every department of the native 
government asserted by the English, must 
end either in their assumption of all power, 
in name as in reality, or, it was just possible, 
in their total expulsion from the province. 

Clive had quite made up his mind on the 
matter; and while receiving immense sums 
from the nabob on the one hand, and the 
wages of the E. I. Cy. on the other, he 
addressed a letter from Calcutta, as early as 
January, 1759, to Mr. Pitt, urging upon 
him the necessity of affairs in Bengal being 
viewed as a national question, and a suffi- 
cient force sent forthwith " to open a way for 
securing the subahship to ourselves." The 
Mogul would, he added, willingly agree to 
this arrangement in return for a pledge for 
the payment of fifty lacs annually — a sum 
which might be easily spared out of revenues 
amounting to £2,000,000 sterling; and as 
to Meer Jaffier, there need be no scruple on 
his account, since he, like all other Mussul- 
mans, was so little influenced by gratitude, 

asserts his belief that he would one day attempt the 
overthrow of the nabob, blaming " the old fool" at 
the same time severely for " putting too much power 
in the hands of his nearest relations ;" but there is 
no evidence to warrant his assertion : on the con- 
trary, Gholam Hussein Khan, though strongly pre- 
judiced against both father and son, gives repeated 
evidence of the unbroken confidence which sub- 
sisted between them. — {Life, ii., 104; Siyar, ii., 86.) 


as to be ready to break with his best friends 
the moment it suited his interests, while 
Meeran was " so apparently the enemy of 
the English, that it will be almost unsafe 
trusting him with' the succession."* 

This communication was forwarded to 
Mr. Pitt by Mr. Walsh, the secretary of 
Clive. In relating the discussion which fol- 
lowed its presentation, Mr. Walsh writes, 
that the able minister expressed his views a 
little darkly (or probably very cautiously) 
on the subject ; mentioned that the com- 
pany's charter would not expire for twenty 
years ; and stated that it had been recently 
inquired into, whether the conquests in 
India belonged to the company or the 
Crown, and the judges seemed to think to 
the company ; but, he added, " the company 
were not proper to have it, nor the Crown, 
for such a revenue would endanger our liber- 
ties therefore Clive showed " good sense by 
the suggested application of it to the public." 

Here the question dropped for the time, 
and Clive returned to England, apparently 
before learning the result of his memorial, 
and at a time when events of the first im- 
portance were taking place. f 

The Shah-zada, at the invitation of certain 
influential nobles of Patna, had already re- 
newed hostilities, when Clive and Forde 
quitted the country in February, 1760. In 
the previous December an English detach- 
ment, under Colonel Calliaud, had been sent 
from Calcutta to Moorshedabad, and this 
force, in conjunction with 15,000 horse and 
foot, under command of Meeran, marched in 
the following month to oppose the Mogul 
prince. Meanwhile the powerful king of the 
Doorani Afghans was again on his way to 
ravage Hindoostan. Shaab-oo-deen, the 
vizier of the pageant-emperor, Alumgeerll., 
aware of the strangely-assorted friendship 
which existed between his ill-used master and 
Ahmed Shah, caused the former to be assassi- 
nated, and seated another puppet on the 
throne. The Shah-zada had entered Bahar, 
when tidings of the tragical end of his father 

* Life, ii. 120—122. The succession of Meeran had, 
it should be borne in mind, been one of the primary 
conditions made by Meer Jaffier with Clive. 

f Mr. Scrafton, in a letter to Clive, states that 
Meeran, on one occasion, became so excited by the 
partiality evinced towards a Hindoo governor (Roy- 
dullub) who was known to be disaffected to him, 
that he declared, unless an express guarantee of 
safety should be given, he woujid leave Moorshedabad 
with those who were faithful to him, and, if necessary, 
fight his way to the nabob, who was then at Patna. 
Scrafton adds, that the " old Begum sent for Petrus 
( the Armenian interpreter for the company), and fell a 

reached the camp. He assumed the title of 
Alum Shah, and secured the alliance of Shuja 
Dowlah, the nabob of Oude, by the pro- 
mise of the vizierat; conferred on Nujeeb-ad- 
Dowlah (an able Rohilla chief, staunchly 
attached to the imperial family) the dignity 
of ameer-ool-omrajj and, with the assistance 
of these leaders, assembled a considerable 
force. An engagement took place near 
Patna, between his troops and those of 
Meeran and the English. The emperor was 
defeated, and fled to Bahar, where he con- 
tinued to maintain a feeble contest until the 
campaign was abruptly concluded by the 
death of one of the parties chiefly concerned 
in its results. A heavy storm commenced on 
the night of the 2nd of July, and Meeran, 
the better to escape its violence, quitted his 
spacious tent for one of less size, lower, and 
of greater strength. According to eastern 
usage, a story-teller stationed himself beside 
the prince, striving to soothe the unquiet 
spirit to repose, while a domestic chafed his 
limbs, with the same view of inducing sleep. 
Fierce thunder-claps long continued to break 
over the encampment, alternating with vivid 
flashes of lightning. The fury of the elements 
at last abated, and some attendants, whose 
turn it was to keep guard, entered and be- 
held with dismay the lifeless bodies of 
Meeran and his companions, all three having 
perished by the same stroke. Colonel Cal- 
liaud considered it impolitic to publish the 
catastrophe, lest the consequence should be 
the immediate dispersion of the army of the 
deceased ; he therefore, after certain neces- 
sary precautions, caused the body to be 
dressed, as if alive, and placed on an elephant; 
marched to Patna with all possible expedi- 
tion, and distributed the troops in winter 
quarters. It is scarcely possible to avoid 
attributing the fate of Meeran to an act of 
Divine retribution, so cruel and bloodthirsty 
had been his brief career. § The previous 
month had added to the list of victims sacri- 
ficed by his father and himself, two aged 
princesses, the surviving daughters of Ali 

blubbering, saying that she had but that son, and 
could not spare him." — (Malcolm's Life, i., 349.) 

X See previous section on Mogul empire, p. 177. 

§ Upon examination, five or six holes were found 
on the back part of his head, and on his body streaks 
like the marks of a whip. A scimitar which lay 
on the pillow above his head had also holes in it, 
and part of the point was melted. The tent pole ap- 
peared as if rotted. Yet, notwithstanding these indi- 
cations, a rumour arose that the death of Meeran had 
been caused by the English; and to this unfounded 
accusation Burke alludes in his famous speech oa 
opening the charges against Warren Hastings. 


Verdi Khan; and among his papers was found 
a list of the names of persons whom he had 
resolved to cut off at the conclusion of the 
campaign ; determined, as he said, " to rid 
himself of the disloyal, and sit down in 
repose with his friends." 

The death of Meeran was a terrible blow 
to his father. The slight barrier which 
had heretofore in some measure kept down 
the arrogance and extortion of the English 
functionaries, and likewise the clamours of 
the unpaid native troops being now removed, 
the nabob was left alone to bear, in the weak- 
ness of age and intellect, the results of his 
unhallowed ambition. Clive, with others 
who had largely benefited by sharing its first- 
fruits, had gone to enjoy the wealth thus ac- 
quired under the safeguard of a free con- 
stitution ; and their successors would, it was 
probable, be inclined to look to the expedient 
of a new revolution as the best possible mea- 
sure for their private interests, as well as 
those of their employers. The excitement 
attendant on the payment of the chief part 
of the stipulated sums to the Bengal treasury, 
had before this time given place to depression; 
that is, so far as the public affairs of the com- 
pany were concerned. Individuals had ac- 
cumulated, and were still accumulating large 
fortunes, to which, in a pecuniary sense, no 
drawback was attached; but the general trade 
was in a much less flourishing condition. 
On being first acquainted with the extent of 
money and territory ceded by Meer Jaffier, 
(of which, it may be remarked, Clive gave a 
very exaggerated account,) the directors sent 
out word that no supplies would be sent by 
them to India for several ensuing seasons, 
as the Bengal treasury would, it was ex- 
pected, be well able to supply the civil and 
military exigences of the. three presidencies, 
to provide European investments, and even 
to make provision for the China trade. This 
was so far from being the case, that in less 
than two years after the deposition of Meer 
Jaffier, " it was found necessary to take up 
money at interest, although large sums had 
been received besides for bills upon the 
Court of Directors." * The distress created 
in England by these drafts was very great ; 
and even in the year 1758, the holders were 
with difficulty prevailed upon to grant fur- 
ther time for their liquidation. 

The payment of the English troops en- 
gaged in repelling the attempts of the Shah- 

* Vansittart's Narrative of Transactions in Sen- 
gal, [., 22. The same authority states, that in 1760 the 
military and other charges in Bengal amounted to 

zada, presented an additional difficulty. It 
had been thought that the stipulated sum of 
one lac of rupees (£10,000) per month, would 
amply cover their expenditure; but expe- 
rience proved that amount insufficient to 
provide for the exigences of the augmented 
establishment thereby necessitated, even had 
the money been regularly paid ; instead of 
which, the nabob was greatly in arrears at 
the time of Clive's departure. 

In fact, his own forces were so costly and 
extensive, that it is alleged they were alone 
sufficient to absorb the entire revenue. The 
death of Meeran was quickly followed by 
an alarming mutiny. The palace was sur- 
rounded, the walls scaled, and Meer Jaffier 
threatened with instant death unless the 
claims of the really distressed troops were 
liquidated. Meer Cossim, who had married 
the only surviving legitimate child of the na- 
bob, interfered for his protection, and brought 
about an arrangement by the advance of 
three lacs from his own treasury, and a pro- 
mise of the balance due in a stated period. 

Mr. Vansittart arrived to fill the position 
of governor of Bengal in July, 1760. An 
empty treasury ; a quarrelsome and dicta- 
torial council ; unpaid and disorderly troops ; 
the provision of an investment actually sus- 
pended ; — these were some of the difficulties 
which awaited him.t Mr. Holwell, while in 
the position of temporary governor, had 
suggested to his fellow-officials, that the 
cruelty and incapacity of Meer Jaffier justi- 
fied his abandonment, and proposed that 
they should change sides — accept the re- 
iterated offers of the emperor, and make 
common cause with him. This project was 
rejected ; but the necessity for some decisive 
measure being pretty generally agreed upon, 
it was at length resolved to offer Meer 
Cossim Ali the limited degree of real power 
still residing in the person of the nabob, on 
condition of the title and a fixed income 
being left with Meer Jaffier, and certain 
additional concessions made to the English. 

Mr. Vansittart acquiesced in the scheme 
formed by Mr. Holwell and the select com- 
mittee. One or two members of the general 
council, when the intended change was first 
hinted at, dissented on the ground that the 
incapacity of Meer Jaffier was itself favour- 
able to the interests of the company; but 
the urgent need of fresh supplies of funds to 
meet increased expenditure, combined per- 

upwards of £200,000 per ann. ; while the net revenue 
did not exceed £80,000— (p. 97.) 

| Vansittart's Letter to E. I. Proprietors, p. 13. 


haps with less easily avowed motives on the 
part of certain influential persons overpow- 
ered this reasoning, and a treaty was en- 
tered into by the governor and select com- 
mittee with Meer Cossim, by which he 
agreed to assign to the English the revenues 
of the three districts of Burdwan, Midna- 
pore, and Chittagong, in discharge of the 
balance due from his father-in-law. On 
the night on which the articles were signed, 
Meer Cossim tendered to Mr. Vansittart a 
note for the payment of twenty lacs of 
rupees to the five members of the select 
committee. Considering the large sums ex- 
torted from Meer Jaffier on a previous oc- 
casion, it was only natural to expect some 
similar instance of " munificence" in the 
present case ; though, from the impoverished 
state of the revenues, the amount must of 
necessity be greatly inferior. The note was, 
however, returned, and the governor and 
committee, if they had not the self-denial 
wholly to reject the tempting offer, dis- 
played at least a sufficient regard to de- 
corum to refuse accepting any portion of 
it, until Meer Cossim should be seated in 
security on the musnud, and all the condi- 
tions of the treaty fulfilled. In the meantime 
they appear to have made no private agree- 
ment whatever; but, in lieu of it, to have 
asked a contribution of five lacs for the 
company, which was immediately paid and 
employed in aid of the operations then in 
progress against the French at Pondicherry. 

The deposition of Meer Jaffier was effected 
with so much ease, that on the evening of 
the day on which it took place, a stranger 
entering Moorshedabad would scarcely have 
suspected the revolution that had so recently 
occurred. When first informed of his in- 
tended supercession, the nabob manifested 
an unexpected degree of energy — declared 
that his son, Meeran, had warned him what 
would happen, and even threatened to 
oppose force by force, and abide his fate. 
But this was the mere effervescence of im- 

* Vansittart's Narrative, i., 100 — 138. 

f Among the reasons stated by the governor and 
committee for the deposition of Meer Jaffier, was a 
massacre committed by his orders at Dacca in June, 
1760, in which the mother of Surajah Dowlah, his 
aunt, his widow and daughter, and a boy adopted 
into the family, were taken from prison at midnight 
and drowned, together with seventy persons of in- 
ferior note. Such wholesale slaughter as this, if 
actually perpetrated, would have cast into the shade 
even the enormities which formed the steps to the 
Mogul throne ; yet it does not seem that any official 
inquiry was instituted in the matter. So hardened 
do the minds of Europeans become by familiarity to 

potent rage. The palace was surrounded by 
English troops, and he possessed few, if any, 
on whose fidelity reliance could be placed ; 
besides which, so "general a disaffection 
against his government, and detestation of 
his person and principles, prevailed in the 
country amongst all ranks and classes of 
people," that Mr. Vansittart declared, "it 
would have been scarcely possible for the 
old nabob to have saved himself from being 
murdered, or the city from plunder, another 

Scarcity alike of money and provisions 
began to be painfully felt throughout 
Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa. Moorshedabad, 
once the seat of unparalleled abundance, 
had become the abode of poverty-stricken 
multitudes; while Patna, exposed for two 
years to the ravages of the imperial forces, 
and threatened with renewed invasion, in- 
stead of furnishing, as in times of peace, vast 
stores of rice, was now almost a wilder- 
nesss. Amid this wide-spread misery, the 
man from whom aid was expected continued 
to lavish sums extorted by oppression on 
favourites of the most unworthy character; 
and pleasures (if they deserve that name) of 
the most disreputable description. The 
measure of his iniquities was filled by the 
sanction or direction given by him, in con- 
junction with Meeran, for the midnight 
assassination of Gassitee Begum and Amina 
Begum, f which, in the case of the former 
princess, was an act of peculiar ingratitude 
as well as cruelty, since she had been ex- 
tremely useful to him during the fifteen 
months' sway of her nephew, Surajah Dowlah. 
It must be remembered, that Colonel Clive 
had viewed the assassination of that prince 
with utter indifference ; and it is the less to 
be wondered at that so sanguinary a com- 
mencement having passed uncensured, Mee; 
Jaffier should have allowed his son to follow 
out the same course until he was cut off as 
one who, though unscathed by human laws, 
yet " vengeance suffereth not to live." The 

the worst features of despotism, that Messrs. Amyatt, 
Ellis, and Smyth, the three dissenting members of 
council, in their minute complaining of not having 
been duly consulted regarding the recent measures 
adopted by the select committee, positively palliate 
the charges brought against Meer Jaffier as cruelties 
which would appear shocking to a civilised govern- 
ment, but which were common to all despotic ones. 
In fact, the transaction, infamous as it really was, 
had been greatly magnified; for in October, 1765, it 
was officially stated by the government of Bengal, 
that of the five principal victims named above, only two 
had perished ; the rest had been kept in confinement, 
and were subsequently set at liberty. (Thornton's 


death of Meeran formed a new feature in 
the complicated question upon which Mr. 
Vansittart was called upon to decide. The 
prince was well known to have been the 
chief counsellor and abettor of his father's 
actions ; and it may be doubted whether 
Mr. Holwell's proposition (of abandoning 
Meer Jaffier and surrendering the govern- 
ment to the emperor) being wholly set aside, 
it would not have been wiser to have avoided 
the questionable expedient of a supercession, 
by suffering the present nabob to continue to 
occupy the musnud, but with a very limited 
degree of authority. It was evident things 
could not remain as they were ; the power 
of the English was too great and too little — 
altogether too undefined to be stationary; 
and though there is much reason to believe 
that the course pursued in this difficult 
crisis was really prompted by an honest 
desire for the good of all parties, yet, like 
most temporising measures, the result was 
total and disastrous failure. 

The resignation forced upon Meer Jaffier 
appears, under the circumstances, rather a 
boon than a punishment. The first out- 
burst of rage having subsided, he listened 
calmly to the proposals made to him — 
prudently rejected the offer of continuing to 
enjoy the empty semblance of power, while 
the reality was to be vested in another 
person ; and simply stipulated that he 
should be suffered to proceed immediately 
to Calcutta, and reside there under British 
protection. It has been alleged that his 
ambitious son-in-law objected strongly to 
such a procedure, and would have preferred 
disposing of his predecessor after a more 
summary fashion:* but be this as it may, 
Meer Jaffier quitted Moorshedabad the very 

British India, i., 387.) This does not free the English 
authorities from blame regarding the fate of those 
who really perished, and the hazard incurred by the 
survivors, who were left at the caprice of an apathetic 
old man and a merciless youth. But so little con- 
cern was manifested when human lives and not 
trading monopolies were concerned, that Meeran, 
being reproached by Scrafton (then British resident 
at Moorshedabad) for the murder of one of the 
female relatives of Ali Verdi Khan, did not take the 
trouble of replying, as he truly might, that she was 
alive, but asked, in the tone of a petulant boy who 
thought he " might do what he willed with his own," 
" What, shall not I kill an old woman who goes about 
in her dooly (litter) to stir up the jematdars (military 
commanders) against my father?" The perceptions of 
the Bengal public were, happily, not quite so ob- 
tuse as those of their Mohammedan or European 
rulers; and the murder of the princesses (with or 
without their alleged companions of inferior rank) 
was held to be so foul a crime, that the fire of heaven, 

evening of his deposition, bearing away, to 
solace his retirement, about seventy of the 
ladies of the harem, and " a reasonable 
quantity of jewels." His only lawful wife 
(the mother of Meeran) refused to accom- 
pany him, and remained with her daughter 
and Meer Cossim. Thus ends one important 
though not very creditable page of Anglo- 
Indian history in Bengal. 

Administration op Meer Cossim Ali. — 
The question uppermost in the mind of every 
member of the Bengal presidency, whether 
friendly or adverse to the new nabob, was — 
how he would manage to fulfil the treaty 
with the English, pay the sums claimed by 
them, and liquidate the enormous arrears 
due to his own clamorous troops ? Being 
an able financier, a rigid economist in per- 
sonal expenditure, and a man of unwearying 
energy, Meer Cossim set about the Her- 
culean task of freeing himself from pecu- 
niary involvements, and restoring the pros- 
perity of the country by measures which 
soon inspired the English officials with the 
notion that, so far as their personal interests 
were concerned, the recent revolution might 
prove as the exchange of King Log for 
King Stork. Strict accounts of income and 
expenditure were demanded from the local 
governors, from the highest to the lowest ; 
the retrospect was carried back even to the 
time of Ali Verdi Khan ; and many who had 
long since retired to enjoy, in comparative 
obscurity, wealth gotten by more or less 
questionable means, while basking in the 
short-lived sunshine of court favour, were 
now compelled to refund at least a portion 
of their accumulations. In short, according 
to Gholam Hussein, the advice of Sadi the 
poet — " Why collectest thou not from every 

which smote the perpetrator, was popularly believed 
to have been called down by Amina Begum (the 
mother of Surajah Dowlah), who in dying uttered the 
vengeful wish, that the lightning might fall on the 
murderer of herself, her child, and her sister. The im- 
precation is of fearful meaning in Bengal, where loss 
of life during thunder-storms is of frequent occurrence ; 
and the tale ran, that the deaths of Meeran and his 
victims were not, as stated in the text, a month 
apart, but simultaneous, the fatal orders being exe- 
cuted at Dacca on the same night and hour that 
Meeran perished, several hundred miles away. 
(Siyar ul Mutakherin, ii., 133.) The translator 
adds, in a note, that the imprecation of Amina 
Begum was mentioned in Moorshedabad full thirty 
days before intelligence became public of the death 
of Meeran. 

* This charge will be found in Holwell's Indian 
Tracts, 90 — 91 ; but in a subsequent page it is denied 
by Mr. Holwell, the person to whom the proposition 
is stated to have been made. — {Idem, p. 114.) 


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